As a child, Charles Hunter visited Niagara Falls’ famous Floral Clock, located roughly 10 kilometres from the heart of downtown. He never imagined then that, about 40 years later, he’d be in charge of the 12-metre-wide timepiece, whose face is a garden containing 20,000 plants. For Hunter, now the director of horticulture at Niagara Parks, the clock represents many things: a partnership between nature and humanity, a message from Niagara to the world, and a gateway to inspiration, which Hunter calls “the fourth dimension.”
Built in the 1950s by Ontario Hydro, it has been managed by Crown agency Niagara Parkssince the 1960s. Of the thousands of plants making up the clockface, Hunter says, about 95 per cent are grown by the Parks team; this year’s offerings include Alternanthera ‘Rosea Nana,’ Duranta repens ‘Dwarf Yellow,’ and Santolina chamaecyparissus.