Planting at Copper Ridge was definitely not the typical landscape project. Given the beautiful architecture and stunning setting, the centre could have been considered complete without adding a single plant. Nevertheless, in the spirit of the Work, which calls for loving attention to be paid to every detail, we went about selecting plants.
Much like buying shoes, the more you have to choose from, the more difficult the selection process can be. The first step in narrowing down the list was to eliminate any plants which would be difficult to maintain. Potential damage by deer and bears was also considered. Inspection of plants which were thriving in neighborhood gardens gave an indication of what would be most likely to survive in the area. We targeted a balance between native and ornamental plants to provide some colour and interest without detracting from the natural environment, and some flowers were included to provide cutting material for the altar. It was an honour to provide the plants for this centre as they will be appreciated by so many.
The most special plant in the garden is a small, humble, native dogwood tree planted at the entrance to the parking lot. The tree was planted by the Prelate, Monsignor Fernando Ocariz, during his visit to Vancouver in 2019. It is easily identifiable as it is surrounded by a small fence to help protect it. The dogwood flower is the provincial flower of BC and will highlight the landscape in spring with its large, pure white flowers. When the tree gains strength the fence will be removed and perhaps a generous soul will donate funds for a beautiful engraved stone plaque (hint). Like the Work in Vancouver, hopefully the tree will grow into a strong and beautiful specimen which attracts people from all over.
Part of the project was to create a public trail through the property for residents from the town to access Murrin Park. Some small existing pathways were rerouted to minimize steep slopes and detour the public away from the statue of our Lady to preserve a prayerful spot. The trail starts where the entry road crosses the creek and enters into the forest where there are old growth trees, babbling brooks, and scenic views. It will make an enjoyable walk and provide good exercise for retreat visitors or workshop participants.