Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Gazelle
by Anita LeBlanc
Is that a reindeer hiding in plain sight at the Fifth and William corner parking lot? "It's actually a gazelle," says Ed Wheeler, the maintenance manager for Republic Parking. "We've had it there for about four years."
The topiary was provided by Nature's Garden Center in Saline, which cares for the green space in the city's parking facilities. Owner Steve Sclater says that the star and flower topiaries that once accompanied "Rudolph" have since expired, as has a topiary dolphin that used to live in the Main and William lot. The real palm trees that grew in the same lot this summer are now in hiatus at an indoor location.
Wheeler and Sclater understand that where they see a gazelle, others see a reindeer. When a nearby rosebush is in bloom, "a lot of people put red roses in its nose to make it look like Rudolph," Wheeler says. This month, Sclater plans to put some extra seasonal bling in the fairy garden next to the Fourth and William parking structure and to deck Rudolph in festive holiday gear. Probably not boughs of holly, though--they'd be lost among his natural greenery.
[Originally published in December, 2013.]