The Garden Park on Fourth, a stunning downtown oasis, is once again full of flowers and ready for people to stop by and enjoy.
This year the project started by Gale Tytlandsvik, the local green thumb and champion for community beautification, will mark its 10th anniversary. To make it special, Tytlandsvik decided to make the cozy area, located on Fourth Street between the Salvation Army and the SaskTel building, even more attractive by creating impressionist landscape murals on the east side and an art project on the west.
Originally, Tytlandsvik hoped to beautify the garden earlier, but the construction on the SaskTel side put those plans on pause. Now that all the construction debris is cleaned up, the plants are in and planters are painted, and she hopes to proceed with the art projects in the near future.
She wants to paint the Salvation Army building's wall sky blue, and then Brenda Blackburn will paint gold frames on which Tytlandsvik will eventually design landscapes, thus creating an outdoor art gallery.
"The first mural is going to be shades of pinks and purples. And then I think we'll go into shades of yellows and oranges. And towards the end, blues and greens," Tytlandsvik explained. "We don't want it to compete with the flowers, so it's just going to be simple with elaborate gold frames."
She received a grant for materials through the Estevan Arts Council and the artists will volunteer their time and talent, but there will be more expenses coming with the project, some of which she'll cover with money left from planters and flower beds sponsorships and through donations from the community.
Tytlandsvik also hopes to create a metal art piece along the west wall to cover up the air conditioner box on the SaskTel building. Dart Services already installed the poles, and an oil company donated one-inch rods, which Tytlandsvik will use to build an art piece this year.
Also new this year is a small vegetable and herb garden along the west side of the little park that also can be enjoyed by citizens once it’s fruiting later this summer.
When the garden was just starting, many people said that it would be vandalized or even destroyed. However, throughout the 10 years, there were only a couple of minor incidents, and on the bright side, there was a lot of positive feedback as many people utilized the garden to have a break, enjoy the flowers or take some beautiful shots.
"I love that people tag me now on Facebook when they've done wedding pictures or something in here," Tytlandsvik said.
Especially at the beginning of each season, the garden takes a lot of her time, but Tytlandsvik is doing her best to organize everything so it's as low maintenance as possible.
There is a lot of work to do throughout the summer. Besides taking care of plants, Tytlandsvik always has some improvements to do. In the near future, she hopes to see a pergola put up to create some shade over the garden and also hard-rubber paving installed around the planters. While the first one will make the garden more comfortable for visitors, the second will turn it into less work for volunteers, as it's an easily washable surface that doesn't catch any debris and also prevents weeds from coming up.
However, as these projects are pretty expensive, they are not in the current garden's budget. If someone wants to support Tytlandsvik's efforts in beautifying downtown, they can reach her through The Garden on 4th Facebook group.