Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ogden Standard Examiner Newspaper Article About our New Addition

Here is the new addition to the Ogden Botanical Gardens.  Thanks Dennis for all your hard work and donated time to the gardens.  We truly have the best Master Gardeners in the world!

Carved bears court wedding proposals at MTC Park

By JaNae Francis

Standard-Examiner staff

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 9:38pm

OGDEN — An addition to the MTC Park in Ogden is a cute attraction as well as a monument to the volunteers who serve there each week.
A carved female and a male bear, facing each other with a bench between them, are adorned with the words “Love Hill” encased in a heart and the instructions “propose here.” Both bears have the wide eyes of those contemplating marriage.
“I thought because they are posing for pictures all the time and weddings, something romantic would fit in,” said Dennis Miller, who carved the bears and made the bench between them, then built steps up the hill to the creation.
“I didn’t want people to have to walk up the hill in the mud,” Miller said.
Miller is known for his creations throughout several Riverdale parks, which he completed when he worked for that city. But now he’s retired and spreading the love he has for carving in a place where his heart is.
“My wife and I have each put in 850 hours of volunteer work apiece,” he said. “We are master gardeners.”
Miller and his wife, Ardie, conduct plant diagnostic sessions Wednesday nights through the spring and summer months.
Miller said this work of art came to him as he studied the trees he used to create them.
“I was thinking of it all the time,” he said. “I would wake up in the middle of the night.”
Miller said whenever he makes a carved work of art, he looks at the trees or pieces of wood and they seem to speak to him, telling him what they should become.
This creation was made from two Siberian elm trees that park organizers wanted to remove.
“They really are junk trees,” Miller said. “They grow wild all over the hills, (but) they are not native to the area.”
He said when park officials decided to get rid of the two trees, he agreed to carve them.
“I’d been promising Jerry Goodspeed, when I retired I would carve something,” he said, noting that he retired in December 2010. “Last year, we decided on the trees with Jerry.”
Goodspeed is the director of the Ogden Botanical Gardens located in the park and is a Utah State University Extension horticulturalist.
Goodspeed is excited about the creation because it adds to the park and honors volunteers.
“It’s very nice to have a representative of all the volunteers,” Goodspeed said. “The (Millers) have volunteered all of this and done it on their own time.”
And Goodspeed said the carving adds a great deal to the park.
“Part of the idea of the gardens is to beautify and also create interest,” Goodspeed said.
Miller said he started his hobby out of a desire to save money.
“My wife loves bears,” Miller said, explaining how he started on his chain-saw carving hobby. “Carved bears are quite pricey.”
Miller said he took up the carving hobby in 2004 when his wife, who wanted some of the pricey masterpieces herself, bought him a how-to video and a chain saw.
MTC Park is on the east side of Monroe Boulevard at about 1800 South. The new bears are west of the easternmost bowery in the park.

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