It may have been cold, wet and raining but that didn’t stop members of the community from celebrating the official Lang Creek Native Plant Garden opening recently.
Representatives from the City of Powell River, Powell River Regional District, School District 47, sponsors and other members of the public were all on hand to celebrate and show appreciation to those who have made the garden possible. Henderson Elementary School choir sang for the soaking crowd, before all huddled in the gazebo for cake, coffee and speeches from the garden’s organizers.
For three years now the Lang Creek Native Garden steering committee, in conjunction with the Powell River Garden Club, has been working toward the goal of creating an eye-catching and educational space at Lang Creek salmon hatchery for native species of plants to grow. The idea is to incorporate the garden into the educational components that already exist at the hatchery and to provide another attraction and learning opportunity for visitors.
Plants in the garden are limited to those native to southwest BC, ranging from dogwoods to ferns to tiger lilies and more. Educational signage is one of the most recent additions to the garden. The signs tell about the history of the project, the reasons behind it and geographical information about Lang Creek, along with information about the plants in the garden.
“So when somebody comes from Australia or Japan, they’ll see what we have to show,” said Gail Scholefield, emcee for the event and member of the steering committee. “The goal is to showcase the beauty of our plants and the tremendous diversity...Now Lang Creek has something to offer the visitor 365 days of the year, not just when the salmon are spawning.”
Ethnobotanical information is also posted explaining the relationship between humans, particularly first nations, to local plants. Many of the plants in the garden were used traditionally for food, shelter, art, medicine, construction and in a spiritual capacity.
During the event the school district and various associated groups were acknowledged for donating benches to the garden. Schools, Parent Advisory Councils and student councils from throughout the district donated the benches which are intended to help turn the garden into an outdoor classroom for students to come learn about the plants and do projects on site.
Organizers unveiled a bench at the event designed especially for seniors, featuring a higher than normal seat and strong, thick steel arms to hold on to. Powell River Credit Union donated this particular bench, which, like all the others, was handmade by Lane Large, with the concrete base installed by Don Carto.
More pathways and plants are in the works for the volunteers as the project keeps growing.