Tucked in a bed of drought-tolerant plants on the corner of 10th and N Streets, a jovial whale carved out of a California-native ceanothus plant smiles at passersby. It’s the only topiary in the 40-acre Capitol Park.
“If someone wants to take the initiative to be creative and practice their skills, and they’re ahead with their work for the week, we don’t want to stifle that,” says Mike Nielson, supervising groundskeeper II at the park.
In place for about eight years, the whale topiary adds a dose of merriment outside a building that houses serious business. It’s also a testament to the pride in craftsmanship shown by the groundskeepers.
“When you come here, you get a sense of history,” says Larry Filosena, supervising groundskeeper I. “Generation after generation has walked through here. The crews work hard to make it happen.”