9-metre-long Ogopogo garden creation entertaining summer Okanagan vacationers

Manuel Fernandez is a topiary artist at his gardens in Burnaby and Osoyoos.  This is his Ogopogo plant sculpture in Osoyoos, July, 2022.

Manuel Fernandez is a topiary artist at his gardens in Burnaby and Osoyoos. This is his Ogopogo plant sculpture in Osoyoos, July, 2022.

Image Credit: SUBMISSION/ Manuel Fernandez

A nine-meter-long Ogopogo sculpted out of plants is drawing attention from summer vacationers in Osoyoos, and recently on social media.

The long, leafy version of the Okanagan’s treasured mythical lake monster was grown and shaped by Manuel Fernandez of Burnaby, who owns a summer home in Osoyoos.

“People come to see the Ogopogo all the time, especially in the summer, and take photos of it,” he said.

Fernandez created the Ogopogo for its special, historical significance in the Okanagan and grew it out of boxwood around five years ago. It has been entertaining summer vacationers since, and last week when he posted a photo of himself on social media he received a big response.

“I couldn’t believe it, it got 2.5k hits and so many positive comments,” he said.

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Fernandez is pleased that the sculpture continues to bring joy to others, especially little children.

He doesn’t mind curious vacationers coming by to see it on the quiet 25th Street in Osoyoos where he said the leafy creation is impossible to miss.

“The street makes a loop around the lake so lots of people walk over in the evenings to see it,” he said. “There is a campground below me. One group will come by and then go back and tell the others.

“I don’t mind, I like making people happy and seeing them smile and point.”

The Ogopogo needs a trim and shape a couple of times a year. Watering is simple as Fernandez uses an automatic watering system.

Fernandez is a self-taught topiary artist, first starting out shaping a shrub into a chicken two decades ago.

“I started out small and it just kept growing from there until I went topiary crazy,” he said.

READ MORE: Ogopogo lives: How a mythical lake monster has prompted change

Ogopogo, the ‘sea monster’ in Okanagan Lake, has taken many forms since the word first appeared in the 1920s when it was culturally appropriated.

N’ha-a-itk has existed for thousands of years, and holds important cultural significance, rich with depth and meaning for Okanagan First Nations.

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