Oregon St. Garden Design Charette
April 22, 2001

Eric: A notion of Permaculture Action Charette: there are designers that host the charetter that invite stakeholders who have an interest in the outcome of the event. The designers come up with a process which will allow input from all the stakeholders to address the crucial design parameters needed to make a design. The function of the charette is to gather input more than making decisions about details of the project. The designers take the input from the charette, make a design and present the results to the stakeholders at a later date. At that time revisions are made.

Eric: Let’s do a couple of assignments for about 5 minutes each, then share what we came up with. First assignment: Come up with a name (a title) and a vision for the garden. How do you see the garden functioning in your vision?

Tim: Title: Mmm. How I function with the garden: as I walk to work I pick some peas. “Mmm” sighed over lemonade with dirty fingernails leaned up against the shed watching light on the fence – Garden as a reference point in conversations. Garden cancer cell beginning. Another title: Anne’s Garden.

Chuck: Title: “kids,-plants-play garden” Art-pond: put art in stone circle. 3 vision statements: Educate locals/ourselves about sustainable direct actions, including fooding; learn how to meld locals’ insights with studenting insights. Art today’s human norms & permacultural methods known & unknown; allow area young-spirited to image, letter, & architect info around model gardens, seeking growing involvement & finally allowing locals to oversee and overtake the project. Permaculture beacon to hail alien life forms aparatus mechanism

Susan: I’d like to drive by on my bike and stop at the garden, and not feel that this is someone’s property as in keep out. The construct of the garden invites me to stop. This is how:

1. there’s a bench or two where I can sit

2. garden’s don’t seem to be someone’s, or, if they are, they invite meto help tend them.

3. this ‘helping to tend them’ would be facilitated by a message board inthe garden, carefully updated. The message board would say the names of the people participating, phone numbers, names of people inthe houses around. The message board would leave requests as to watering, tending, etc(“sheila is out of town and would like someone to water her spot..”) The message board would indicate other gardens in town for people to visit.

4. Not only permaculture gardens, but also organic, flower, etc.

5. area for kids to play without trampling

6. late summer there would be a neighborhood block party

Andy: Titles: Fuck Religion; The Other Than Misery Endangered Humanlife Area; Human Refuge; No Domesticated Humans Allowed. How the garden functions in my life: food and medicine free and flowerful; people behaving inappropriately together, art with a circulatory system. You can bank on planter unions, unions planting.

Mark: Titles: Can I join In?, room-for-you garden, vegopolis, hey you. Vegopolis – multifaceted, bustling dense downtown of plants, statues, ponds, arches, canals, hospital convention center, old word neighborhoods, observation tower, parks.

Eric: Name: Happy Hollow. Functions: garden as a place for healing and transitions. Garden as a place for people to tell of stories of their lives and events. Garden with medicinal plants – get old people off drugs.

Rob: Garden names: McCulley Memorial Garden, McCulley Eco-Farm, Friends of McCulley (McCulley is the landlord) Functions: the garden invites people to observe plants in many stages of growth, the garden is a functional edge between the Permaculture project and the entire neighborhood, it’s a site for propogating useful plants and ideas about gardening, it seduces people to design with us, it’s a garden gnome graveyard.

Pauline: Garden name: Our Plot. Vision statement:”Our plot will provide a concrete free space to sustain those who sow their desires into it” The garden’s function: to be vague enough so that people who were not able to attend yesterday’s meeting could decide how their desires could be met by the garden.

Brandy: Title: Neighborhood Farm Functions: a place with vegetables, fruit trees, painted signs explaining what is where, and how it was put there, sculptures, spaces to run around.

Danielle: Name: Oregon Community Garden; State Streets Free Garden; Grow Your Own Here; All Things Green and Flowering: A Community Garden; Grow it Here; Helping Things Grow; Susatain – Able – I – Tea. Our local global mission: to communalize underused private space, to continue the creeping greening of Urbana. Join us, join us, hurray!


Eric: Next question: Name relations of the garden, in it and beyond it. What would you do at this garden months and years down the road.

Chuck: Outside art gallery. A water tower converted to autonomous partyspace for teens. I’m dropping by when I feel like it – inspiring raucous fun of various sorts. I’d participate as near & far out of this world design & high weird ideahh consultant. As curator of visionary art gallery society-design show. As visiting eminent mad scientist of at least one special mysterious unknown project corner; offering meeting/club (lab coats or E.T. clothes). More ideas: bike rack, painting, weird objects buried, a place to snack, a garden that cultivates care and sensuality, free dog snack box.

Susan: The garden would enable people to interact; it’s a place to be outside doing something besides sunbathing. The garden would be a network of other gardens in town that invite people to visit them too(this would appear on the message board). People would also learn something.

Marina: I would like the garden to be one of sensual and intellectual delights: music (flutes, fiddles, drumming, accordion, etc.), smells aromas of all sorts, food and snacking possiblities all day and night long (nuts, fruits, vegetables, of as many sorts as possible), puppet theater, theater, poetry readings, sculpture, painting and performance. The garden would be a hedon-eden cultivating above all: care, sensuality, and thought devoid of trivialization.

Andy: Human composting toilet. I’m out here at least once a day cultivating introductions and romancing plants with the compost from the composting toilet we built after getting the city to not only legalize, but subsidize the recycling of our most intimate wastes.

Mark: At the “Future Hemp Section” we could post updates on the effort to legalize industrial hemp. High School lunch walks. I’d like to organize a performance here. Create a solar-powered fountain.

Eric: Youth interviews elders. Neighborhood stories.

Rob: I’d picture myself as a mulch connoseur. I would like to do public relations work on the landlord and public locations work on the neighbors — maybe I’ll start organizing these bi-weekly barbeques we keep talking about.

Pauline: I needed more time for this.

Anne: Foster relationships between the garden and the neighborhood – something that is seen to benefit and be incorporated into our perceptions of our neighborhood. Personally? I might feel invited to wander through it.

Brandy: When I am here I paint, hang paintings from trees, identify birds and do and a place to chat. A tower for observing.

Danielle: A place to go and hang and work when I am lonely – “things happening all the time”. IMC living newspaper performances at lunch. Hilly terrain. Make this garden part of a huge swathe of green space that connects Leal Park and Carle Park, which is bikable/walkable. Scavanger hunts in the garden for kids and parents to explore all the nooks and crannies of the space. “Potential Garden” walks for hypothesizing and dreaming.

Tim: Bikerack might invite bicyclers.


Eric: Next, three questions: (1) Name 3 to 5 things that would stop you in your tracks and draw you onto the garden site. (2) What is here that is nowhere else in the whole world. (3) List ways to generate participation of everyone in a two block radius. Increase # of stakeholders!

Tim: (1) if someone was hurt. 6 people – 2 conversing, 2 working together silently, 1 sleeping, 1 quietly singing while weeding. A maze. A keep-out sign made by 1st graders.

Danielle: (3) Pass out plants – going door to door and asking people to plant them in the garden (they would have an impetus to do so before they die). Garden christening: everyone gets a plant at the party and puts it in. Go around of introductions. Collect info on everyone who lives around here – approach them connecting their known interests to the garden. Put up a map of the neighborhood with each dwelling on it; have people fill in their dwelling with red when they contribute to the garden; fill neighborhood map with red.

Brandy: (1) if it was almost storming. if there were goats. Poetry readings. (2) an observation tower. (3) lemonade stand – kids give a pitch and then a tour.

Anne: (3) Theater – fantastic written invitations left on people’s doors to be neighborhood picnics which are regularly occuring. Signs inviting people in and/or posted map of the garden by the sidewalk. Open, inviting pathways marked by huge sunflowers by public access points. Establishing an area for public composting.

Pauline: (1) Life sized sculpture park/trash art construction; food preparation of any sort; medicine preparation of any sort; guided orientations to the plants; a public tub/pool/bath and a composting toilet ( each surrounded by tall plants/trees for privacy?); hide and go seek; a game of croquet. (2) It has the possibility of hosting biodiversity in the center of monoculture. (3) Simple ( co-op) idea: free food/veggies if you help take care of the land.

Rob: (1) big things: trees, groups, Mt. Manure, Lake McCulley, signs offering thoughts to people and plants.

Eric: (1) Fire, circus, mud people, puppetshow, storytelling, history.

Mark: (1) Bonfire. Sculpture. Puppet show. Lunch lecture – podium? Free pie. A greenhouse lit up for winter. A harpisichord. A school science fair, bio-fair. Chess game. Barter fair.

Andy: (1) Enormous living junk sculpture with a red “push me” button that squirts water in my face. Glutinous trees. A set of really bug chairs and really small chairs, low and high respectively. Getting trees to swallow junk. 120ft. tall Pecan trees. (2) It’s right in between 5 houses with close friends (a half block away) 120 feet walk from the 2nd oldest mall in the country. (3) People dump trash here. This generates activities on site.

Marina: I want drumming, dancing, food and flowers to be there for that would inevitably seduce me into entering if I were walking by.

Susan: (1) Puppetshow: Punch and Judy. There would be a saturday noon puppet show, to make use of the lincoln square farmer’s market. All week long there’d be an empty puppet theater, with a sign on it” Next show, saturday noon, Free”. Puppet makers like bethany cooper would be invited to make puppets, and story tellers like Kate Mcdowell would be asked to tell stories. If this were kept up with some regularity, parents would bring their kids to the garden on a regular basis. (3) Connection with Saturday Farmer’s Market. Constant, recurrent gesture of including people – basics: watering, mulching, inviting.

Also, this garden would have a constant gesture of inclusion. Part of the gardening work would be to invite people to look and ask.

Garden could be called Friendship Community Garden, or, The Herbert Garden.

We’d need to have a port-a-potty on the land, and some shelter for when it rains.

Chuck: (1) A handmade wall of pictures of people involved with art, tiles, colored glass. Watering hole for pets. Resting place for hot air balloons. Free stuff area. Rock or marble garden. Monthly exotic plant exhibit. Clowns gardening. Potluck food area (with a lazy susan). Snow and ice sculpture garden in the winter. Storm observation tower. Big potluck food table & cooking area. Everyday we tell our ideahhs on different questions to each other.