A bright spot on the Hilltop

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Westside resident Joy Boston recently commissioned wood carving artist Ted Scherer to design sunflowers from a chopped tree in her front yard. She said she chose sunflowers for this permanent display of public art because they make everyone happy.

Joy Boston had her sights set on a beautiful garden when she moved into her home on S. Roys Avenue.

She envisioned bright and bold flowers, thick and luscious plants, adorable figurines scattered about and attractive accents to give her new place that much-loved feel.

Shortly after moving in, however, she realized her big garden dreams were not likely to come to fruition.

“There was way too much shade,” she said.

In the two decades since, Boston said she has grown to love the trees that keep her neighborhood cool but less flower friendly and adapted well to her surroundings.

“I plant many artificial flowers,” she admitted.

Still, that pang of sadness sometimes penetrates her armor of acceptance when she sees a particularly lovely garden.

“My daughter has a beautiful garden that is full of sunflowers of varying heights,” she said. “It makes me jealous when I come over and look at it because I know they could not thrive where I live.”

But that long-held notion of hers started to shift in a most unconventional way earlier this year.

It was a few months ago when Boston and her husband John Karn were watching a Do-it-Yourself show on television when they saw a designer use wood carvings to save a fallen tree.

“I thought it was very creative and wanted to do something just like that should a similar situation arise,” she said.

Coincidentally, it did when a tree of theirs started to become too much of a burden.

“We had this pin oak that was just terrible to clean up in the fall,” she said. “And not only did it create that mess, it also started to drip sap onto my husband’s car. It got so bad he had to park across the street.”

With plans to cut down that bothersome tree, Boston and Karn set out to find someone who could possibly turn its remnants into something sunny and beautiful.

As members of the American Legion, they knew all about fellow member Ted Scherer, a noted wood carver whose creations are all over the state.

“He’s very talented,” said Boston. “We had previously commissioned him to make a carving of Tweedy Bird for our granddaughter and were just blown away by his creation.”

She said they knew they had to ask if he could do this floral project for them.

While flowers are not among his most requested carvings, Scherer said he was up to the challenge.

“I just love doing stuff like this,” he said.

He began working on the remnants of the pin oak tree in early October by carving four large sunflowers emerging from the top and four smaller flowers on its trunk. He spent nearly 20 hours working on the project and nearly 10 hours talking to residents and passing motorists asking about the carving.

“It’s created a lot of foot traffic and traffic jams,” he said.

On Oct. 5, the eight-foot-tall sculpture was officially declared complete and now Boston and the community will get to see sunflowers in bloom all year-round.

“I think it’s just amazing,” said Boston as she circled the carving. “It makes me so happy to look at it.”

She said she hopes it will have that same effect on her neighbors and passersby too.

“I want them to be able to enjoy this just as much as I do.”

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