Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lake Ontario Viewpoint Makeover ~ Benches, Fence, Plants Improve Great Photo Location in Mississauga

Popular Brueckner Rhododendron Garden lookout gets new seating, split rail fence

The Lake Ontario lookout at BRG, a great favourite with many Garden visitors, has been given a makeover and is now sporting three new benches, a new split rail fence and new plantings. With a total of four benches in the immediate area, there's room for more to sit a while, and admire the fabulous lake and garden views. Beach-goers will access the waterfront area from a new entry point.

Lake Ontario Viewpoint Brueckner Rhododendron Garden

One of the most romantic spots in Mississauga is here at the Garden, overlooking Lake Ontario, near a large rhododendron and azalea bed. The above photo shows a couple sitting on one of the old benches. The other old bench was located to the right, out of view in this picture, and looked directly into shrubbery. Over the years, the trees had grown, and the beach cliff eroded. This lookout makeover was well due!

 New Concrete Pads Poured for New Benches At BRG

City staff inspect new concrete pads prior to installation of new benches. The new bench locations were sited on the perimeter of a large circle. Plans allow for creating a new circular shrub and flower bed of low-growing plants in the middle area.

 New Black Garden Bench, Old Wood and Steel Bench Support

The old benches and supports (photo: steel, red painted wood and concrete footing) were cut and removed. The new black benches were affixed to the new concrete pads. In periods of wet weather or snow melt, the ground around the old benches would get muddy. The new concrete should give much firmer and safer footing.

The BRG Stewardship Committee agreed with the city staff proposal for these new installations. While access to the beach below is still available, it will be via a gentler, safer trail across the slope. Some existing lilies on the edge of the embankment had to be transplanted out of the way of the new path and closer to the fence.

 Concrete Pads for Park Bench Overlooking Lake Ontario

Here's another view of two of the three new concrete pads, with one of the old red-brown benches in the background. Grass seed was sown in the bare areas. [Note the absence of fencing between the grass and the drop off to the Lake.]

One of the new benches is sporting a memorial plaque. (City of Mississauga sponsor a tree, bench info here). As you walk through this Garden, take note of these plaques, most often on benches or at the base of trees. A lovely and lasting memorial!

 City Crew, Tractor Remove Old Bench Supports, Footings, for Recycling

Remains of two older benches were hauled away in short order to make way for the new benches. The old wood will be separated from the steel supports, the old concrete footer will be broken off, and the steel recycled for other uses.

New Benches, Split Rail Fence, New Perennial Plantings

Note the grass has sprouted and is filling in bare areas around the concrete pads. The new split rail rustic fence, IMO, is a great addition. It serves to frame this lovely view, and provide a barrier for those who may be looking more at the view than at where they are stepping. The new beach and lakeshore access can be seen in the background, directly behind the bench.  

Million Dollar Lake Ontario Views Free to All at Brueckner Garden

Though this day, no sailboats, power boats, tankers or even flocks of migrating birds were in sight, this gorgeous scene is constantly changing, not only with water craft traffic, but also with the passage of the sun, the monthly phases of the moon and each new season. 

The view also changes as volunteers add new plantings, like Black Eyed Susans, transplanted from existing beds to this location

Here's a video of this viewpoint in the midst of an early winter storm:

Brueckner Rhododendron Garden is already a popular location for wedding photos and special occasion photos. The makeover of this viewpoint provides yet another gorgeous location for picture taking!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Archbishop Romero Catholic SS Students HELP Grow Brueckner Rhododedron Garden

Mississauga Secondary School outreach initiatives program benefits BRG

Sept 29, 2010: Brueckner Rhododendron Garden was a classroom for the day for Mississauga high school students in the Humanitarian Experiential Leadership Program (H.E.L.P.) at Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School.

About a dozen students came to the Garden with H.E.L.P. teacher, James Scott Neil, to plant wildflowers and shrubs under the direction of Gardens volunteer David Culham.

Archbishop Romero Catholic SS HELP Naturalize Tecumseh Creek

On a crisp Fall morning, H.E.L.P. students with garden gloves and shovels got some hands-on experience with soil and native plantings in the Wild Flower Bed, a naturalized green space located between the Waterfront Trail and Tecumseh Creek.
"The students planted all 36 Cardinal plants and dug 50 holes for new shrubs," said David Culham, Brueckner Rhododendron Garden Stewardship Committee volunteer member.  "They then dug another 10 holes for rhododendrons, and then they cleaned out the Garden nursery. They packed a trailer load of plastic for recycling."

Volunteer Student Gardeners ~ Waterfront Trail Wildflowers

David Culham distributes T-shirts to Archbishop Romero H.E.L.P. students. Gardening is messy work and clean clothing is appreciated at the end of a hard day's work. The students and teacher came to the Garden at 7 a.m. and worked for 5 hours.
"We reorganized our existing Cardinal flowers that had been planted in 2008 to a more visible front row in the flower bed," said Culham. "The Cardinals had been planted behind the taller, bushier Sky Blue wild asters, and so they couldn't be seen from the Waterfront Trail. Now they are very visible. These three dozen new plants will add a needed splash of bright red."

Archbishop Romero SS Students ~ Interim Place Memorial Bed

The area of Brueckner Rhododendron Garden where the students were working is the site of the original Interim Place shelter for women and children. A memorial bed and plaque commemorate the work of this local charity. Said Culham:
"It seemed appropriate to show the students the memorial for the house that had been on the site where they were digging and planting cardinal plants. That discussion came up because of nails they found in the soil and asked me how they came to be there."

"The students did an excellent job and they were great company."

James Scott Neil (above photo, far right) administers the H.E.L.P. program at Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School, located at 90 Dundas Street West in Mississauga.
'Environmental stewardship is only one aspect of the H.E.L.P. program designed for senior-level students (completing Grade 10 or 11) who will thrive in an experiential learning environment, and are looking to make a difference in the world through a variety of community and international social action. It appeals to young people who seek adventure, and are inspired to contribute positively to local, national and global communities in the spirit of catholicity.' Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.
On behalf of City of Mississauga garden staff and volunteers, a big Thank You to the teacher and students for your work in the Garden!

Cardinal Plant - Native Wildflower Added to Naturalization Area

Brueckner Rhododendron Garden is in its final year of major expansion and upgrading, says Para Kanp, head gardener. About 95 percent of the work is done, said Kanp, with about one year's work ahead to completion. Groups and other volunteers such as these students are an enormous help with the work yet to be done, and with ongoing garden cultivation.

 Brueckner Rhododendron Garden Archives - DJ Culham

For more information on how you can help grow the Garden, call 311 [within Mississauga / Brampton.]