Dandelion towers over Bluff garden

Former members of the Land's End Garden Club (from left) Linda Bell, of Invercargill, Jan McColl, of Bluff, and Marilyn Clark, of Greenhills, with the massive Dandelion sculpture in the background which the club commissioned.

A GARGANTUAN dandelion casts a long shadow across Jan and Jim McColl’s front yard, opposite Stirling Point Pilot Station in Bluff.

Designed and built by sculptor Adam Shuter, of Auckland, the dandelion was commission by former Land’s End Garden Club members.

The club was disbanded about two years ago.

During its final year the club had 20 members, from Invercargill, Greenhills and Bluff, but age and other commitments had caught up with them, prompting the closure of the group.

It had been an active club with outings to various garden-related places and gardens throughout the region, hosting guest speakers, holding workshops and demonstrations.

Former club president Marilyn Clark, of Greenhills, said all the funds from the club had been dispersed, including the funding of the sculpture.

The Dandelion sculpture on Jim and Jan McColl’s front yard near the Stirling Point Pilot Station in Bluff.

The members chose the dandelion, not only because they had been a garden club, but also because of what the plant represented and for its beauty.

“Sometimes a weed can also be a herb.”

The members had hoped the sculpture, which was more than 3m tall, would be placed within Bluff, so they approached the Invercargill City Council (ICC) to seek its approval to erect the sculpture in Gore St, Bluff, opposite the Post Shop.

However, because that parcel of land was a reserve and subject to a lease agreement between KiwiRail and ICC, it became a problem, a club spokesperson said.

Although ICC Parks and Reserves met with some of the members at the site, things became increasingly difficult, she said.

The spokeswoman said she asked the council for a decision on the site, but they wanted a Heritage NZ Archaeologist report and so on, which would add $700 to the club’s costs.

“Also, the stem of the dandelion had to be thicker stainless steel to combat the high winds in Bluff.”

As a result, it was decided to discontinue discussions with ICC and place the sculpture in a member’s private garden, where it was now erected.

The head of the dandelion arrived from Auckland before lockdown which meant the Auckland-based artist could not travel south to see it installed.

The stem was bought separately, and Campbell King, of Southland, erected the landmark sculpture.