Sooke is more than it appears to be

Communities in Bloom committee resurfaces in Sooke

Sooke's own flower

Sooke is not what it appears to be and there are many undiscovered secrets all over town. Did you know about some of the beautification efforts that have taken place over the last six years? Did you know that Sooke has its own flower?

As a member of the Communities in Bloom (CIB) program, Sooke has undertaken a number of projects that have helped the district achieve five blooms in the yearly competition among participating towns and cities.

Hydro boxes have been covered with photographs; flowline sections were turned into planters, sculptures placed on Murray Road and at the municipal hall, Sunriver Allotment gardens was aided, Ed Macgregor Park upgraded, wooden benches and bike racks placed around town, the boardwalk sprouted signage and businesses in Sooke beautified their surroundings.

“It’s not just about flowers,” said Brenda Parkinson, chair of CIB. “It’s about the tidiness of the community and environmental initiatives,”

She used the example of Journey middle school students cleaning up Ayum Creek.

Parkinson said it is also about heritage and the history of Sooke. An example of this are the two metal sculptures depicting a mariner and a flow line worker.

Residents also got involved by maintaining the boulevards in front of their homes and showcasing their green thumbs.

The Communities in Bloom committee took a year off in 2012 and to retain their status as a five-bloom community, members of Mayor’s Arts & Beautification Committee agreed to get involved this year.

Sooke started out achieving no blooms in 2008 and steadily gaining more blooms as the years went by up to five blooms in 2011.

“You can take one year off and if you didn’t participate again you would have to start over,” said Parkinson. “People felt it was something good for Sooke and something everyone can be involved in.”

Sooke’s own flower is the Monkey flower, Mimulus sookensis. Mimulus are called monkey-flowers because some species have flowers shaped like a monkey’s face.

To get involved local businesses can help by participating in the Business Beautification Contest. Enter your business in the District of Sooke Beautification Contest by completing the nomination form available at: www.sooke.ca and submitting it to the district.

Show your support by adding a planter, flower basket or by cleaning the boulevard in front of your place of business. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money.

Judging will take place on July 19 and businesses will be recognized for their participation in Communities in Bloom.

There is an added bonus in that the beautification will be good for tourism and the businesses alike. The judges will be in Sooke from July 18 to 20.