Madisonville Foraging Woodland Garden

Adopted by Jane Garvey & John Lanier

During 2013 the development of the site continued with the help of Madisonville residents, volunteers – including Youth Works, and Civic Garden Center Interns during workdays.  Volunteers mulched plantings with woodchips, caged trees and shrubs, weeded and mowed the grass along with planting Native Persimmon and Dolgo Crabapple trees, a knock Out Rose, and additional Elderberries.  In December an Asian Persimmon, English Walnut and an Asian Pear were also planted.  In 2013 we enjoyed a modest harvest of Raspberries, Peaches and Jerusalem Artichokes and in 2014 are looking forward to more robust harvests.

The site development also included sowing a succession of green manure crops.  These soil building Winter Rye and Buckwheat crops were planted, and tilled in, around and within the Pawpaw Circle.  Currently there is a planting of the Walnut Creek Winter Cover Crop, a green manure seed mix donated by Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation.  This mix is a combination of Flax, Cow Pea, Austrian Winter Pea, Whole Oaks, Phacelia, Canola, Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch, Tillage Radish, and Pearl Millet ““ it will be tilled in the spring.

In 2013 plants were donated to the Madisonville Foraging Woodland Garden by Marvin’s Organic Gardens, Homeadow Song Farm and the Cincinnati Zoo, their generosity is most appreciated.  In addition the project received support from the Civic Garden Center and the City of Cincinnati Urban Agriculture Program.

2013 has been a productive year and I look forward to continuing the work on the woodland garden with Madisonville residents and volunteers in 2014.

The Madisonville Foraging Woodland Garden is planted with food-bearing native plants, or cultivars related to native vegetation, suited to the harsh environment of the site.  This plan also combines the use of a system of swales to capture and sequester rainwater to irrigate the site. The goal is to create an aesthetic woodland site for public foraging that is designed along Permaculture principles. The woodland landscape will have a naturalized look integrating the existing trees and new plantings, a system of swales and an edible landscape sculpture project, titled “Red Bank Pawpaw Circle” by Fieldfaring (Susanne Cockrell and Ted Purves). The focus of the Fieldfaring sculpture is a forty foot circle of Pawpaw trees that would provide a center point surrounded by the broader naturalized landscape.  The expanded development of the surrounding area will move forward with additional community input and participation as well as participation of the Civic Garden Center (CGC) Neighborhood Gardens Program and in consultation with Sam Dunlap the center’s School Garden Coordinator who has extensive experience in Permaculture practice.  The site is also part of the City of Cincinnati Urban Agriculture Program administered by the Office of Environmental Quality.

The Madisonville foraging project site is a destination and departure location for Metro (bus) riders and there is a bike trail that ends at the interaction ““ the pedestrian and bike traffic is much more than you would imagine.  This makes the site a unique location for a perennial food foraging site.

About Permaculture

The word “Permaculture” was coined in 1978 by Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist, and one of his students, David Holmgren.  It is a contraction of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.”  As a practice Permaculture is the conscious design of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.  The intended outcome is creation of a harmonious integrated system between humans and nature that produces food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

About the “The Red Bank Pawpaw Circle”

The Red Bank Pawpaw Circle is a Fieldfaring project created by Susanne Cockrell and Ted Purves with the City of Cincinnati Urban Agriculture Program and the Civic Garden Center. The project, located within a large traffic median at the intersection of Red Bank Road and Erie Avenue, sits at the entrance to Madisonville, and is managed by the CGC Neighborhood Garden’s Program.  It is one of seven off-site commissions, produced to coincide with the Contemporary Arts Center exhibition “Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses and Abandoned Lots” and funded by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award.

The Red Bank Pawpaw Circle consists of nineteen pawpaw trees, drawn from four distinct cultivars. It is planted within a circular berm, designed using permaculture principles in collaboration with the CGC School Garden Coordinator, Sam Dunlap.  The Pawpaw, America’s largest native fruit, ripens in the fall, and has been eaten by different local cultures for many centuries. This public site will serve both as a space for the seasonal collection of food, as well as an ongoing monument to the histories of cultivation and gathering that span the layered histories of migration through the Ohio River valley.

About Fieldfaring

Susanne Cockrell and Ted Purves work collaboratively under the rubric of Fieldfaring to create social art projects that investigate the overlay of urban and rural systems upon the lives of specific communities. They ask questions about the nature of people and place as seen through social economy, history and local ecology. The collaboration began with a two and a half year public project (2004-2007), Temescal Amity Works, which facilitated and documented the exchange of backyard produce, conversation, and collective biography within the Temescal Neighborhood of Oakland, CA.

Corners of Erie Avenue and Red Bank Expressway and Brotherton Road Cincinnati, OH 45227

Civic Garden Center gratefully acknowledges Jane Garvey & John Lanier Adopt-a-Garden sponsorship.

Visit Make Our Garden Grow to learn more information.