Sunday, April 25, 2010
Gossage Garden Gazebo Gets Groovier
A Pretty Little Pocket Park
Gossage Garden, the little park on Cornwall and Alabama is seeing some new colors this spring. Meredith Blume, 18, is repainting the Gazebo to her liking. This endeavor is Blume’s senior project at Bellingham High School. The project is due for completion this week so if you are walking, driving, or biking past, you’ll notice the new Victorian designs that Blume is stenciling in.
A Bit About Gossage-
Gossage Garden is named after a Lettered Street local, Glen Gossage, who passed away before the park opened over 15 years ago. Gossage owned a nearby pharmacy and he regularly sang and acted at the Bellingham Theatre Guild.
City parks are usually named after deceased individuals, said Judy Buchanan, the Garden’s visionary and founder. Buchanan received $10,000 in block grant money when the garden opened and then she raised $2,000 more from selling memorial bricks. Relatives of Gossage have helped fund the park over the years, Buchanan said.
Buchanan said that pocket parks like Gossage are usually unpopular with the city because they are un-kept or neglected. She said that she was proud of Gossage for its continual loveliness.
An Artist in Blume
Gossage’s Gazebo is getting a maroon and white repaint with custom designs which Blume carved into stencils. She will be there all week painting the posts and benches of the wooden structure.
Pursuing art as a career, Blume will be attending University of Oregon next fall. She plans on becoming an art teacher. She says she understands how difficult it is for an artist to get paid for their artwork. She has two paintings hanging for sale in the Anchor Café on Cornwall. In her pastime, Blume likes to draw or paint at the Anchor Café. She says she is inspired by artists like Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud.
When Blume presented the idea of repainting the Gazebo, Buchanan was thrilled. “The last time it was painted was when it was first assembled by my husband over 15 years ago.” Buchanan recalled.
Most people would know Gossage Park by the scarecrow that looks out over F St. “Scarecrow is a misleading term,” Buchanan said. “The old lady doesn’t scare crows at all.” Sometimes the crows will even perch on the old lady, who has been named Madam Douglas after former Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas.
You might have noticed the old lady has changed apparel a few times. Buchanan said this is because of typical wear and tear, but also for another reason. Vandals. Madam Douglas has been the victim of two incidences of vandalism. She has been provided a wardrobe change as a consequence. Weathering the brutality of vandals and rainy nights, old Madam Douglas has developed a hunch. Buchanan said she thinks its Osteoporosis.
A Home Away from Home
Buchanan does a good amount of the gardening at Gossage, but she gets help from people serving community service. “Usually, it’s Western Students who get in trouble,” she said.
A few years ago, however, there was a homeless, developmentally disabled man who was charged with possession of marijuana. Buchanan said he was a Calif. Resident and he had a medical marijuana license, but since he was caught using the substance in Washington, he was ordered to serve some community service time. He spent his time at Gossage Garden, pulling weeds and studying plants. While he was kept from his family in California, Buchanan observed that he grew to like the place. She said, “It was kind of his home away from home.”
Arrest That Gardener!
Gossage Garden has been entered into the Whatcom Bloom garden contest for the past 9 years or so, Buchanan said. It has received numerous awards over the years, raking in firsts, seconds and thirds, said Mark Turner, photographer and judge of Whatcom Bloom.
The night before Whatcom Bloom a few years ago, Buchanan was pulling weeds at Gossage. She was there at 4 in the morning, prepping the garden for the contest. The police got a call about a mysterious woman putting things in a bag. The police showed up and questioned Buchanan, discovering the mysterious woman was merely trying to get her garden in shape. Buchanan laughs about it to this day.