Ugly Volcano Replaced with Fountain and Flower Garden
By Lynn Chiotti
It is truly amazing what can happen when community groups work together. In late 2011, the St. Helens Garden Club was asked if it would be interested in taking on a civic project to create a public showpiece at the intersection of St. Helens Street and Columbia Blvd. For many years a plain drag slab of concrete was there, then an enclosed volcano was created that was harshly criticized by community members and civic leaders alike. For two years following the removal of the volcano, the walled enclosure sat vacant.
Then the Garden Club answered the call and took on the task of developing the triangle. Member Sharon Harrison created a plan that was presented to the City of St. Helens Parks and Public Works Departments, City engineer Sue Nelson, and Councilman Doug Morton. Once the design was approved and a work plan developed, funding was procured from various entities such as PGE Employee Grants, Oregon Roadside Council, City of St. Helens and the St. Helens Garden Club. With the help of garden club members and city workers, the wall was re-configured and stained, and wiring, drainage, and plumbing was provided by the city. The fountain was plumbed and wired, and the irrigation system installed by Matt and Sharon Harrison.
Once this initial preparation was completed, the above ground work and planting was accomplished in less than a week. On Monday, Beaver Bark brought in the soil which was spread by garden club members and community service workers. Wednesday, the City then brought in and positioned the decorative rocks (boulders) under the direction of Sharon Harrison. Initial plantings were also begun. By Friday evening, garden club members had planted over 200 perennials, succulents, grasses and annuals. Still to come are the bulbs – tulips, alliums and hyacinths, approximately 500 bulbs. Plant material was purchased locally from Mean’s Nursery, who also donated numerous annuals. Bulbs were provided by the garden club, but purchased from a national grower. The rocks for the fountain were purchased from Scappoose Sand and Gravel. The pump for the fountain was re-purposed from the original volcano. Over 200 man hours of volunteer work has created a project we are all proud to have in St. Helens.
This civic planting will become an ongoing project of the St. Helens Garden Club. As needed, plants will be replaced or added.
Volcano photo by Josey Bartlett
Remaining Photos By Lynn Chiotti