Situated at the south end of the somewhat “spartan” Snow Lake Main Street sits a small oasis known as the Ladybug Garden. It has always been a spot where those bent on beautifying the community were drawn, but never on a multi-seasonal basis, nor for any extended period of time. It was spruced up and populated with picnic tables and fire pits in the late ‘60s and witnessed a flurry of activity once again in the early 2000s. However, in between all that, it saw more broken glass and spray paint poetry than shovels and hoes. That is … until Bev Taylor rolled up her sleeves and dirtied her hands in the dark Snow Lake soil at the base of Elm Street.
Along with several helpers, she has worked her magic and transformed this glass bottle graveyard to focal point of the community. There is now colour as far as the eye can see, fountains that continually splash water over well-worn rocks, and pathways that meander through the garden’s summer vista of perennials. There are benches where visitors can stop and contemplate their day or the beauty of their surroundings … and everywhere you look, there are ladybugs! In amongst the Delphinium, Fox Glove, and Daylilies, little eyes can be seen peering out from seemingly every cranny … these are the ladybugs the garden was named for.
Once a year Taylor hosts a ladybug painting event for children. Attendees paint their own ladybug on a rock and Taylor says that they have an option … they can put it in the garden or take it home. “Ninety-nine per cent of them want to leave them in the garden,” she said “So I get them working on a second one … so that they can take it home and give it to a mom, dad or grandparent.” The children all put their names on the bottoms of the rocks and Taylor says that she occasionally moves them around. She then has kids who come in hunting till they find the rock they painted. “The smaller kids come up to the garden and go around kissing all the ladybugs … it’s just the cutest!”
In the winter, the garden is transformed into a wonderland of lights and music, all courtesy of Ms. Taylor’s eye for splendor and the many benefactors who donate time, money and encouragement to bringing her vision to fruition.
As for the flowers, some came from her cabin, some came from prospector Joe Kerr’s cabin, and several came from the yard of Snow Lake’s first mayor, Lawrie Marsh. “I’ve got a lot of perennials from so many people that I can’t even name them all,” said Taylor. “Everything else I grow from seed … I couldn’t afford to garden if I didn’t.” Taylor notes that the Delphiniums she got from Joe Kerr were baby blue when they were out at his cabin; when she brought them in and planted them in the Ladybug Garden, they turned three different colours. “I also have a lot of flowers from when Communities in Bloom was active in Snow Lake,” she said. “One person even allowed a memorial tree to be transplanted from an area that was under development to the Ladybug Garden. Also, there are a couple of memorial rose bushes that were transplanted.”
This is the third summer that Taylor has been planting and expanding the garden. Always known for her green thumb, eye for beauty, and colourful yard, she got involved after a town councillor asked if she wanted to be on a committee tasked with beautifying Snow Lake. “He had a whole bunch of ideas and a little garden was one of them … well, snap, I was right on it,” she exclaimed! “I told them if they brought me soil, I would start the garden up here again.”
Taylor says that she has a lot of people donate to the garden … “Snow Lake is awesome,” she said. “Personal donations have been beautiful. I’m not saying that the garden was all built on donations, because that is not the fact … the fact is, I have spent a lot of money up here.” But, she says that was purely because she wanted to. She gets power from Legion, water from the Senior Centre and in return she plants flowers for both in true bartering fashion. Snow Lake Home Building Centre donated immensely as well she says.
Taylor admits that the garden has become popular not only among residents, but people from outside of Snow Lake have begun to take notice. She says there are a lot of people from out of town who drop by, while adding that she’d like to see a lot more come for a visit.
A love of gardening is what makes Ms. Taylor do what she does. “I did it in my own yard, now I just do it here!” When asked about the amount of time she spends in the garden, Taylor chuckles and states … “Sometimes the whole day, and the night!”