Friday, June 17, 2011

Mississauga Mayor McCallion Rhododendron Garden Tour

Mississauga's mayor, Hazel McCallion, toured Brueckner Rhododendron Garden this afternoon. Today's visit had been rescheduled from a planned tour several weeks earlier. To the delight of all, and thanks to this cool spring season, many rhododendrons and azaleas were still in bloom.

David Culham, Mayor McCallion in Brueckner Garden
David Culham, chair of the BRG stewardship committee, outlined for Mayor McCallion the progress that had been made since her visit last year, showing her the hundreds of additional plants moved from the former Hancock Nursery last season.

Mayor McCallion, BRG Visitors in Heritage Garden
With the rhododendrons and azaleas in full bloom, and the peony and rose buds opening, there were many visitors to the Garden, like these fellows who stopped to chat with the Mayor McCallion in the Brueckner Heritage Garden. A wedding party limo pulled in shortly after, and members of the wedding party asked to pose for photos with Her Worship, who as always, graciously complied.

David Culham, Mayor McCallion at Brueckner Memorial Garden
While touring the hillside slope of the Brueckner memorial garden area on the west border of the BRG, Culham pointed out new plantings done over the past year. Currently, a number of hostas, Sweet William and Solomon Seal plants are being transplanted from this area to other parts of the Garden.

David Culham with Mayor McCallion
Culham, who also oversees Garden volunteers, shows Mayor McCallion where he had recently dug up some Solomon Seal to make room for rhododendrons and azaleas.

McCallion, Culham Tour BRG East Garden
Since Brueckner Rhododendron Garden covers nearly 18 acres (7.19 hectares), Culham used the golf cart to take the mayor to tour the East Garden. The pale purple Herbert azaleas can be seen middle right in this photo. Mayor McCallion was seeing these seven new East Garden rhodo and azalea beds (planted last summer and fall) for the first time.

Para Kanp (Head Gardener), Mayor McCalllion, David Culham
BRG head gardener, Para Kanp, and the Mayor discussed plantings and planting methods, as well as projects planned for the Garden. Upcoming improvements not directly related to gardening include signage for the Garden, an interpretive map, signs for important Carolinian forest trees and the new seating area overlooking Lake Ontario.

Culham, McCallion at Interim Place Garden, BRG Port Credit
Mayor McCallion spent some time at the Interim Place Garden, near the main entrance, where a plaque marks this as the site of the first Interim Place women's shelter, of particular interest to the mayor.

Mauve PomPom Rhododendron with Variegated Leaf Hosta
The still-blooming, late-blooming rhododendrons, like this mauve pompom, backdropped the more serious, business side of the tour of this unique City of Mississauga garden.

BRG Lake Ontario Lookout, Mississauga Ontario
 Another addition since Mayor McCallion's last visit are the three new benches at the lookout over Lake Ontario. Firmly placed on solid concrete footing, these benches are set to serve visitors for many years to come. The new lake lookout seating area is planned a few hundred meters to the east, across the south bridge.

Other issues of interest : Dogs off leash in the Garden (it's NOT a Mississauga leash free zone, despite the beliefs of several dog owners); picnic tables are located only in the East Garden and only for as long as space permits; and the work done by volunteers such as weeding and removing thousands of spent rhododendron blossoms.

Pilfered Plantings: The mayor was plainly shocked to learn that someone had dug up and taken away one of the new rhododendrons the night before. While this type of plant removal or taking of cuttings is rare and contrary to a City of Mississauga bylaw, unfortunately, it does happen. See two instances of plant pilfering: Yellow Tree Peony flowers and peony plants.

Overall, the Mayor expressed her appreciation of the work done by staff and volunteers since last year, and said that she looks forward to seeing the Garden in bloom next year.

And the Garden looks forward to showing itself off to her!

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