The Hendryx St. Forest Garden Park, a petite refuge nestled on the slope of a small downtown lot, continues to flourish. Last week the park saw the addition of a water fountain thanks to dedicated volunteers, many of whom live in the neighbourhood.
This is no ordinary drinking fountain.
Covered in gray and blue tile, the water overflow is collected in a decorative basin at ground level to act as a dog watering bowl.
From there, gravity feed takes the remaining water to a newly-planted elderberry bush which likes a lot of water. Finishing touches near the fountain will include fresh sod and a new bench. Soon to come is a permanent chess board where folks can bring their own pieces.
The park is full of edible plants and fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. Used by many looking for a green space to have a bite to eat or take a rest from the bustle of downtown, the park is also a regular destination for South Nelson Elementary students. On previous visits they have planted radish and spinach seedlings and this week, they were there to study insects.
South Nelson Elementary students intensely searching for insects. Tamara Hynd photos
Resident Brenton Raby began unrolling fresh sod after the students departed and said it gave him much joy to see the fountain used immediately. He explained the idea came up for a couple reasons: it’s surprisingly difficult to access free, clean drinking water in downtown Nelson. And there’s a real non-drinking crowd. He said the fountain will give people the chance to quench their thirst with something that doesn’t come in a bottle or can.
Previously maintained by Earth Matters, the City of Nelson and Raby agreed two years ago to take over the park’s care.
“Brenton Raby has been so kind to become the caretaker of this garden,” said Karen MacDonald, city parks supervisor. “Many thanks to his energy and the hard work he puts into keeping this space lovely.”
When they discovered the basin at their feet was a dog watering bowl, one student exclaimed “My dog will love this!”