Garden of Earthly Delights

The Whole Garden

The Garden of Earthly Delights is the new educational centerpiece of BRING Recycling‘s Planet Improvement Center in Eugene, OR.  Right outside of the main warehouse at BRING, the Garden demonstrates interesting plants, responsible landscaping techniques, and reuse ideas that people can take home for their own gardens.

Rainwater & Sims

I started working on this project while at the University of Oregon, as an independent study in planting design with my classmate Claudia Sims.  The garden has been a collaboration between many different artists and designers.   When we came in, construction was already well underway, with the hardscape installed as designed by Schirmer & Associates, and a found-metal wall in the Chapel of Second Chances designed and built by Jud Turner.

We started by developing a fairly extensive plant palette of edible, drought-tolerant, attractive plants for use in the garden:

Creeping RaspberryStrawberry MadroneDaylily

We then started to apply our choices to create a structure for the planting – settling on a formal scheme for ease of access, teachability, and aesthetic impact.  We roughly divided sections of the garden into different teachable zones – so people can see different plants for different situations – the Shade Garden, the Rain Garden, and a Native Planting, as well as smaller sections for Culinary Herbs and Perennial Edible Greens.  The central beds have no specific zone, but were designed to look great and provide a frame for future sculptural pieces to be installed.  And of course, the harvest – I’m proud to say that nearly every plant in this Garden is edible or medicinal.

GoED Final Planting PlanThis planting plan shows plants in four-letter codes for the latin names – first two of the genus, and first two of the species – see if you can figure them out, or contact me if you’re interested in checking out the full list (complete with uses and plant specs). Here’s an illustrative rendering by Claudia:

Summer Color Illustrative

I designed and later oversaw the installation of the irrigation in the Garden, a hybrid drip/sprinkler system.  This would not have been possible to achieve without great advice from local specialist Paul Sassone and long hours from the EWEB employee volunteer program.

Irrigation Plan

After the design phase of my involvement – completed in March of 2010 – I stayed with the project for the real work(fun).  I helped procure plants and install them in the garden, coordinated a recycled planter project, built a rain garden feature coming off of the cistern, and helped my natural builder friend Erica Ann pull off another beautiful sculptural piece.

Director of the Garden, Charmane Landing, has been coordinating the creation of this place since it was an empty lot.  She helped me and many other amazing people come together and build the various elements of the Garden.  Here’s us after a triumphant first planting:

Recycled Planters

experimentingprototype Working with the University of Oregon-based student group Design Bridge, we designed and built some classy re-purposed planters for the garden.  They ended up being constructed out of old metal garbage cans and some leftover stadium light hoods that BRING got ahold of.

We led the construction of the planters as an open workshop at the HOPES Conference at UofO.  The idea was to teach people that with a little ingenuity, there are all kinds of materials available that you can turn into growing containers for gardening in small spaces.  We made 6 planters that were installed in the Garden on a special drip irrigation system.

Planters in the Garden


And here’s another interesting re-purposed planter I put together in the Garden:

Toilet planter










Rain Garden Feature

From the cisternTo demonstrate the possibilities of harvesting rainwater from your roof, and/or disconnecting your downspouts so runoff can permeate the ground rather than being piped away, I built this “water feature” in one of the smaller planting beds.  I lined it with rocks found on site so as to create a conveyance channel to the infiltration basin at the other end.  The feature is designed so that you can leave the spigot open during the rainy season, or store the water during the summer for an on-demand demonstration of water flow.

The channel



One Response to “Garden of Earthly Delights”

  1. Abha Gupta March 1, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    This is awesome!!

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