Talent unveils tiniest park on Earth
The Talent Garden Club unveiled a pollinator park that covers an underwhelming 374 square inches — outcompeting Portland’s longtime claim to the smallest park in the world, with its 452-square-inch Mill Ends Park.
“Back in December, the Talent Public Arts Committee discussed the potential of having the smallest park. They knew that Portland had the smallest park in the world,” said Gerlinde Smith, chair of the Talent Bee City subcommittee and treasurer of the Talent Garden Club.
“This was presented to me by our mayor and her wife. ‘What do you think; could we do something like this?’ Without even thinking about it, I said of course,” Smith said at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting.
Smith started with a 2-foot circle cut out of cardboard. Her first thought was honoring Talent’s distinction as the second Bee City in the United States by drawing a hexagon in the circle.
“Think honeycomb; think bees. And, of course, we shaved off some 78 square inches from the Portland park,” Smith said.
Smith handed the cardboard hexagon to Jim Thompson, former chair of the Talent Bee City subcommittee, an artist who took on the challenge of visualizing the park.
At the center of the park is a dwarf hybrid mock orange, towering slightly over a miniature wrought-iron fence surrounding the tiny hexagon. Smith regretfully admitted the plant isn’t native, but it is a flowering plant of the proper size for the wee park.
Surrounding it are native plants: yellow eyed grass, monardella, pussytoes and lewisia. All were grown without pesticides or additives, which could be lethal to the 620 species of bees native to Oregon.
The miniature park joins six pollinator parks on Talent city property and 76 private pollinator gardens, for which the city provides guidelines and a certification process.
Attendees were given free packets of Oregon blend wildflower seed mix. The mix can be found online at Urban Farmer, www.ufseeds.com/product/oregon-blend-wildflower-seed/WFOR.html.
After Smith’s speech, Talent Public Works employees stepped forward and removed cardboard and traffic cones covering the ground around the park’s miniature fence. Revealed were six hexagon-shaped mosaics made by Smith, Thompson, Donna Ruiz, chair of Talent Parks and Recreation, and other volunteers instructed by Karen Rycheck, hailed by Smith as the “goddess of mosaics.”
Talent Maker City donated materials and space for the group as they worked long hours over three days to create the mosaics.
Smith said the park is the only biodynamic park in the world. Bio-dynamics, described by Smith as exceeding organic standards, is a holistic form of organic gardening, including water-conserving compost and spiritual practices. Talent’s pollinator garden has been meditated over for 30 minutes a day.
Mill Ends Park in Portland was recognized by the Guinness Book of World records in 1971 as the world’s smallest, though the park originally was created by a newspaper columnist in 1948.
The city of Talent is applying for the Guinness record, but Smith said it’s a long process.
The park does not have a name yet. Because it is a city park, it’s up to the city to come up with a name, according to the Talent Garden Club.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at email@example.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.