19, 2000, Gazette)
stranger, to this place
by Mary MacGillivray
Horticulturist Chris Baird stands beside a magnolia plant
and an English ivy in Toulinguet Close.
cultivation of nature here on campus is a worthwhile endeavour.
Thankfully, some plants around here are still in bloom. How sweet
it is a lot sweeter than a campus of concrete alone. University
is among other things an institution. The institutionalization
of learning brings with it necessities such as classrooms, libraries,
cafeterias, parking and ... a hair salon? Welcome to the great
indoors. A lot of big businesses are now including malls
inside of their office buildings. This means that many will not
need to leave the building all day. One can work, have lunch,
and ride a stationary bike while watching television and checking
e-mail without ever seeing the light of day. Ugh.
It is necessary for us to breathe fresh air for health and relaxation.
Green grass and wide expanses of ground improve the moods, and
therefore the productivity levels of students. Relaxing in the
mall-like atmosphere of the University Centre does not meet this
need. When looking for a place to relax outdoors on campus, there
are comfy spots such as Burtons Pond with its ducks and
the Botanical Gardens on Mt. Scio Road. Trees grow inside of
the atrium found in the arts building. This is a place where
many relax and eat lunch when it is too cold outside. Until winter
comes, there is one area that is close to school buildings and
stands out as being particularly inviting. Here there is a place
to relax and enjoy the view.
plaque, inscribed with a quote from William Blakes Song
First by a Shepherd, sits in Toulinguet Close.
long courtyard between the music and arts buildings has shelter
from the wind. The science and math buildings are on either side
of it. Here there is an interesting variety of colourful and
hearty plants. These plants continue to impress though it is,
for many of them, late in their growing season. In the circular
garden surrounding the lovely armillary sphere, a shrub known
as the burning bush stands out shockingly red. Also of interest
is the lavender that grows here. Its distinctive scent lingers
though it has long since finished blooming. Snails, bees and
wasps inhabit this space along with blue lobelia, dusty millers,
and many other annuals and perennials. The fall flowering sedum
is currently in full bloom. The irises have come and gone, as
have the huge peony flowers of yellow, red and white. While these
members of the garden have already died, the purple and yellow
flowering kale will keep its colours until Christmas. This garden
has been planted as a sort of fireworks to last as long as possible
before winter comes along. Next to this welcomed garden is Toulinguet
Toulinguet Close is the area located directly in front of the
music building here on campus. This area was named after Georgina
Stirling, a famous opera singer from Twillingate, Newfoundland.
Among others, apple and Shammy cypress trees line a healthy group
of large rose shrubs growing here. There are mossy cracks underfoot
and cedar globe bushes are a welcomed sight during stressful
times. Fresh air is rejuvenating for students, and growing trees
are certainly more inspiring than concrete. The steps to Toulinguet
Close lead down and, voila, the flourishing shrub roses are heavy
with their fleshy rose hips. These seed-heads are a pleasant
reminder of the regenerating forces of nature. Blushing tea roses
peep out as well. Many of these flowers are in bloom for the
second time this season. Amidst all of the cement on campus,
this is so nice to see. The starkly grey expanse of concrete
leading to the doors of the University Centre is less appealing
by far. There is really no shelter from the wind here. This amount
of unsheltered concrete is really not practical during the cold
Chris Baird, a horticulturist employed by Memorial, is proud
of his work. Horticulture is the art of garden cultivation. Each
year in January, Chris is busy placing orders to plant nurseries
and planning exactly where everything will be planted. Attractive
colours are considered very important. Snap dragons, Jacobs
ladder, and PG hydrangea with their dusting of pink have been
planted and are finished blooming by this time of the year. Juniper
bushes with their pale berries will bloom into the winter. Evergreen
plants have been placed around campus so that there will be greenery
in our winter months. Most of the soil used in these gardens
consists of screened topsoil, sand and peat.
Chris is able to point out a few surprises growing successfully
on campus. One is a large magnolia plant cushioned beside the
climbing English ivy on one side of the Science building. Usually
this flowering plant would not be compatible with our climate.
However, it is able to flourish in its own microclimate with
protection and heat from the Science building. It has already
set its buds and will bloom large white flowers in the spring.
Japanese maple trees have been planted by the new University
Centre. Aesthetically speaking, this is greatly appreciated.