St. Louis Inner City Xeriscape Horticultural Herb meditation garden ideas

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Hello garden lovers!

I'm seeking a community of REAL GARDEN ENTHUSIASTS....

I've been gardening 40 years..home and apartment living.

Now, I'm creating a community garden which started out of frustration from seeing an empty corner lot across the street which I have to view every day from my bedroom window (in my grandmother's old neighborhood).

I've traveled quite a bit on the west and east coasts and have noticed how well the communities have developed beauty from ruins.

I propose to do that in my area with my far fetched, amazingingly beautiful landscape designs.

I have leased from our city, 3 attached lots on a corner (The lots total 12,505.60 sq ft).

The garden idea is a Xeriscape Healing & Meditation Garden (Horticultural therapy for the neighborhood). The neighborhood is a mixture of older home owners, renters, squatters and derelict landlords.

Why Xeriscape...because of the lack of water (there is a fire hydrant on the corner). The lot gets plenty of sunlight. In the hot St. Louis, Mo summers the grass on the lot gets as tall as 2 feet. Honeysuckle and some type of vines have choked the life out of the 2 trees on the lots and the vines have crept into the entire area.

I believe having a no mow area is best and possible for the garden. No grass to take care of.

So, knowing what I know, I've reached out to our health department, construction workers (who are in the area doing major renovation), botanical garden, University extension programs, gardening programs and others to inform them of my garden plan.

I've not had the best Welcome. They've ALL played devils advocate. They have more questions than helpful information.

I've done a lot of research (soil samples, plant choosing, design, spoken with local nurseries, sponsorship letter and levels with a complete cost of plants, ground breaking, etc.).

We have so many community food gardens in our area, a corner store with butchery 2-blocks away, grocery stores within 1/2 a mile to 2-miles so...we aren't hurting for food. Yet, those that know gardens want to push yet another FOOD GARDEN.

How do I get folks on board to help me create a viable long term educational healing and meditation garden?

We have 4 churches within a block, a technical college on one block (350 acres which surrounds the neighborhood), they are creating an international manufacturing building within the block, 40 new rent to own homes are in construction on the block. The VA hospital is less than a mile away, 3 major hospitals are less than 1.5 miles away, 2 major universities less than 1.5 miles away.

We are centrally located and a 7- minute bike ride away from the major tourist area.

The drawback is that the neighborhood is a working-class, low-income African-American neighborhood. Developers love the area and tell folks do not come to the area because its dangerous (on the news)...which of course means...they want the property to stay low.

So, my fight is with racism and ignorance.

Bringing something that is not typically seen into the area has made for much push back.

I'm kinda stuck at this point and we have no neighborhood association, I've been the active block captain for 4 years trying to pull folks to come to meetings.

Even the politicians in our area have to get college students to intern to assist with their political campaigning because our citizens are bewildered and have lost hope.

With the new progression, I'm hoping to see a revival and light in the tunnel ( we aren't at the end).

Which means I need assistance.

I'm seeking a community of REAL GARDEN ENTHUSIASTS to help bring this project to life!

I've attached the landscape design blueprint.

I'm hoping my words weren't a turn off
.. but more of a Heck yeah...I'll help because this sounds promising!!!!

Please reach out to me with some positive, enthusiastic help.

Like I've said...I've heard the devils advocates. I need angels of hope and true gardeners who can see the vision.

49504
 
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Gail_68

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Hi @Cindylou is it possible you can add pic's of the area besides so members can help you better please :)
 
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Hi @Cindylou is it possible you can add pic's of the area besides so members can help you better please :)
I do apologise Cindylou, so the smaller one is your actual grounds your on about :)
Hi Gail,

So, loaded the picture from my cell phone.

I am now typing from my laptop and the picture is still very large.

I'm not sure what you are seeing. There is a landscape design with yellow highlights, numbers and a CODEKEY to help you read the layout of the garden design. It shows the streets and there is a GOOGLE Aerial shot of what the lots look like from the air.

It also gives the addresses of the lot/locations.
 

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It also gives the addresses of the lot/locations.
Hello Cindylou, I do apologise now you've explained everything you've added regarding location etc.

I was meaning shots took by a camera :)
 
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Hello Cindylou, I do apologise now you've explained everything you've added regarding location etc.

I was meaning shots took by a camera :)
=============================
No, other pictures of the garden.
I won the Neighbors Naturescaping grant ($120 of planting materials)...which is only 12 tall grasses given to us by Brightside.

Brightside gave us volunteers from KPMG...they came out and helped to clean the lots and measure out each design area and MOBOT did a soil sample for each design area.
 

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=============================
No, other pictures of the garden.
I won the Neighbors Naturescaping grant ($120 of planting materials)...which is only 12 tall grasses given to us by Brightside.

Brightside gave us volunteers from KPMG...they came out and helped to clean the lots and measure out each design area and MOBOT did a soil sample for each design area.
I assume those are soil pH numbers? Which of the various test methods did you use please?
 
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Here's a Link via Show My Street. Anybody can look at street angles or overhead in plan-view. There is lots of stuff to plant that will do nicely without a lot of maintenance, that will be the least of your problems. The Gateway Gardener lists some clubs that may or may not be helpful. I would urge you to form a 501-C3 non-profit corporation for several reasons: Liability; there exists people with bad attitudes who are always looking for someone to sue. If you're in charge, you're responsible. 2) As a non-profit, donations are tax deductible. As you solicit various kinds of help from local businesses, your tax-free status will turn on the light bulbs over their heads. For instance: garden centers have stuff left over at the end of the season. It becomes a burden because it needs to be taken care of over the winter, a bad idea because if nobody wanted to buy it this season, they won't want left-overs next year either. Or, they can throw it in the dumpster and write off the cost. Or, they can give it to a bonafide 501-C3 public garden. This applies to anything worth money, including the services of a local law firm which could take care registering your effort as a Missouri non-profit corporation, thence a 501-C3 public garden. In most states, a corporation only needs two officers, and sometimes one person can be both a President who is responsible for operation, and a Secretary who must file documents officially required. After filing the first year's advisory tax forms showing modest income and the fact that no officer benefitted or received income, you don't have to file again as long as nothing material changes.

Dollars to donuts you could put together a less-than-one-page description of your project and send it one law firm at a time asking them to file these forms for you, pro bono, and by the third attempt, I'd bet one will do it. Worst case, you could have a law student do it for credit from his instructor and you pay the required fees of maybe $50 to Missouri and $200 to IRS. (approximately $)

You might be able to post an ad in the Gateway Gardener requesting volunteers and materials. Also, most states have Master Gardener programs through a Cooperative Extension Service of a Land-Grant college. They also would be helpful in lots of ways; volunteers and maybe materials.

Once you are a legit 501-C3, it gets easier. People who don't have the time of day for you will be happy to call you after seeing your less-than-one-page outline of what your goals are and how they might help you.
Letters will serve you better than cold calls. People are busy at work, it's the only reason they're there, so talking to someone who wants something for nothing is maybe the very last thing they want to do. No cold calls. One letter per year per organization or franchise.

Once you get to be legit, come'on back here and we'll load you up with ideas for ground-covers and more for that 12,505 square feet! The Key is the 501-C3 status.
 
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Thank you for taking the time to write the steps out.

  1. Use my (already created) less than, one-page description of the project
  2. Apply for a 501-c3 (Public Garden) (Use Legal Svcs of Eastern Missouri Legal/Washington Univ. Legal Clinic)
  3. Use my sponsorship letter and don't make cold calls
  4. Continue talking with Holly @ MOBOT (Coordinator of the Master Gardner Program)
  5. Post in Gateway Gardner for volunteers and materials (spoke with them back in August 2018)
Yes, a lot of this had already been done. And I've been getting the runaround. We are currently using a partnered 501 c3 because I have one from our Military women's veteran transitional housing organization.

We are hoping our neighborhood will come together (all the small block units in the Vandeventer Neighborhood) to create a major umbrella - Vandeventer Neighborhood Association in the 18th Ward. Unfortunately, folks aren't gung-ho about creating one. Power in large numbers...yada yada yada.

Okay....i'm going with this.

Again, thanks
 
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Thank you for taking the time to write the steps out.

  1. Use my (already created) less than, one-page description of the project
  2. Apply for a 501-c3 (Public Garden) (Use Legal Svcs of Eastern Missouri Legal/Washington Univ. Legal Clinic)
  3. Use my sponsorship letter and don't make cold calls
  4. Continue talking with Holly @ MOBOT (Coordinator of the Master Gardner Program)
  5. Post in Gateway Gardner for volunteers and materials (spoke with them back in August 2018)
Yes, a lot of this had already been done. And I've been getting the runaround. We are currently using a partnered 501 c3 because I have one from our Military women's veteran transitional housing organization.

We are hoping our neighborhood will come together (all the small block units in the Vandeventer Neighborhood) to create a major umbrella - Vandeventer Neighborhood Association in the 18th Ward. Unfortunately, folks aren't gung-ho about creating one. Power in large numbers...yada yada yada.

Okay....i'm going with this.

Again, thanks
Actually, I liked the One Woman Army better, you're already getting a lot done. Committees are on my sugar list. They bat the ball around, form subcommittees to study something and never, ever report back. If you do it all yourself you'll get more done, and you can adjust your strategies as soon as you see a better tack without having to convince others. For example, you came here seeking one kind of advice and are getting a different kind of advice to stay small which you are still free to do or not do because you don't have to report back to a committee for a decision. But what do I know?

Consider getting another, separate 501-C3 named specifically for your one, single park. The name should be as short and sweet as possible, like "Cook-Pendleton Park". Something very specific so there will be no doubt as to where the donations are going. People can be very weary of shell corporations with do-gooder names that can play, "guess where the assets went..." You want to be able to show people photos on your cellphone immediately. And keep a running list of progress and donations, including volunteers' labor, (I use notes on my cellphone) so you can flash that at the drop of a hat. ..."When you get a reputation as an early riser, you can sleep 'till noon." Until then, some people will be weary.
 

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You could start with asking for materials via cardboard in the designated area - seeds, soil, watering can, hose, hoes, hand fork and what nots. Create raised beds (with wheelchair access) for strawberries, lettuce, spring onions, rockets, land cress, kale and those easy come and cut salad leaves and have one or 2 opening days for the community. I have seen a programme in which a lady did exactly that. You can ask for horse manure and some nice people will give it free. I think it's a marvellous idea. After getting everything free, she even charged for using the water. Cheeky, but it does bring the community to that plot. Seeing kids eating borage or nasturtium flowers can be very uplifting. Hope you every success.

Once they see the red and ripe strawberries and tomatoes, you will see the difference.
 
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That's entirely too productive alp, you're sounding like a pushy American businessman. Cindylou wanted a healing and meditation garden and that would be a whole lot closer to what the property can easily maintain. No on-site water means lugging in the worst weather, timely. Bustin' your back at just those times when one should be slowin' down with cookie and a beverage and a friend in the shade. (Can anyone tell what kind of tree is in the NW quadrant? It looks like an Elm being overtaken by a Tree of Heaven? It's important to keep and manage both the tall one and the encroacher for afternoon shade.)

Since most good herbs are essentially weeds, they will do well in sunny, hot, & dry conditions. Planted along the western fence line would give them all the maximum sun, air flow and the extra moisture of sidewalk run-off that would benefit them. Sidewalks also serve as rocks in a rock garden, absorbing excess heat in the hot portions of the day keeping it cooler, and radiating heat back after the sun goes down which moderates cool evenings of spring and autumn, extending the seasons.

Having a lot of space that would cost a small fortune to cover with stone or pavers makes Periwinkle ground cover a good bet. A Zen garden would have a contemplative field of orderly stones combed into some specific pattern with a few study pieces hither & yon. Doing it with Periwinkle as the stone field with dots of Painted Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Shasta Daisy, Asters, etc. arranged into a Zen family could give you something to ponder any time during the growing season. That eastern brick wall is crying for a line of Hollyhocks of every color, and there is ample room for some monster Hostas between and north of the three trees. All of these critters can be had as the necessary divisions from volunteers' homesteads.

If the City has any old bus-stop benches and/or pick-nick tables someplace, they would be ideal spotted around the area singly or in facing pairs and spaced far enough from each other to accommodate disparate groups that want to gossip about each other. If the City doesn't have any of these fixtures available, you can send inquires to state and country parks authorities, too. The several groups are always cycling new equipment into service and often what they're replacing is still very serviceable. Maybe you could convince the city to kick-in a trash container because you will have an on-going need for clean-up, and regular pick up will help keep St. Louis clean.

Each of the several seating sites could have specific perennial or annual flowers that are Xeriscape types: a Prickly Pear seat, a Marigold seat, a sedum seat, a spring bulb seat, etc. (tulips will come back every year if, and only if, they are planted where they will have a dry period during summer. Dry, you got.).

I'm sure there are lots and lots of people with suggestions out there all over the world, just waiting for you to say go, so get them ducks in a row. And ask if the VFW would like to donate a modest flagpole. A 20' section of galvanized 1" water pipe set 24" in 1 bag of concrete will do it. Gotta have something to salute!
 

alp

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That's entirely too productive alp, you're sounding like a pushy American businessman. Cindylou wanted a healing and meditation garden and that would be a whole lot closer to what the property can easily maintain. No on-site water means lugging in the worst weather, timely. Bustin' your back at just those times when one should be slowin' down with cookie and a beverage and a friend in the shade. (Can anyone tell what kind of tree is in the NW quadrant? It looks like an Elm being overtaken by a Tree of Heaven? It's important to keep and manage both the tall one and the encroacher for afternoon shade.)

Since most good herbs are essentially weeds, they will do well in sunny, hot, & dry conditions. Planted along the western fence line would give them all the maximum sun, air flow and the extra moisture of sidewalk run-off that would benefit them. Sidewalks also serve as rocks in a rock garden, absorbing excess heat in the hot portions of the day keeping it cooler, and radiating heat back after the sun goes down which moderates cool evenings of spring and autumn, extending the seasons.

Having a lot of space that would cost a small fortune to cover with stone or pavers makes Periwinkle ground cover a good bet. A Zen garden would have a contemplative field of orderly stones combed into some specific pattern with a few study pieces hither & yon. Doing it with Periwinkle as the stone field with dots of Painted Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Shasta Daisy, Asters, etc. arranged into a Zen family could give you something to ponder any time during the growing season. That eastern brick wall is crying for a line of Hollyhocks of every color, and there is ample room for some monster Hostas between and north of the three trees. All of these critters can be had as the necessary divisions from volunteers' homesteads.

If the City has any old bus-stop benches and/or pick-nick tables someplace, they would be ideal spotted around the area singly or in facing pairs and spaced far enough from each other to accommodate disparate groups that want to gossip about each other. If the City doesn't have any of these fixtures available, you can send inquires to state and country parks authorities, too. The several groups are always cycling new equipment into service and often what they're replacing is still very serviceable. Maybe you could convince the city to kick-in a trash container because you will have an on-going need for clean-up, and regular pick up will help keep St. Louis clean.

Each of the several seating sites could have specific perennial or annual flowers that are Xeriscape types: a Prickly Pear seat, a Marigold seat, a sedum seat, a spring bulb seat, etc. (tulips will come back every year if, and only if, they are planted where they will have a dry period during summer. Dry, you got.).

I'm sure there are lots and lots of people with suggestions out there all over the world, just waiting for you to say go, so get them ducks in a row. And ask if the VFW would like to donate a modest flagpole. A 20' section of galvanized 1" water pipe set 24" in 1 bag of concrete will do it. Gotta have something to salute!
:giggle:;)

Healing and meditation garden - You can have sight, sound, scent .. Ooops running out of s.. Well, it would help to have lavender, rosemary, sage, fennel and dill as they give out wonder scents and lavender can be very soothing. How about that, @treeguy ? A pond with a tiny bubbling fountain can also be very relaxing.

Something that rustles in the wind and nice to touch .. One best way is to have a meditation group on Sunday or Saturday to practise mindfulness or mindlessness?! I have seen a group of Indian ladies chanting totally atonally .. I bet anyone who hasn't been sleeping very well will certainly lapse into slumber!
 

Gail_68

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=============================
No, other pictures of the garden.
I won the Neighbors Naturescaping grant ($120 of planting materials)...which is only 12 tall grasses given to us by Brightside.

Brightside gave us volunteers from KPMG...they came out and helped to clean the lots and measure out each design area and MOBOT did a soil sample for each design area.
I'm pleased you got all this and now treeguy is helping you (y)
 
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:giggle:;)

Healing and meditation garden - You can have sight, sound, scent .. Ooops running out of s.. Well, it would help to have lavender, rosemary, sage, fennel and dill as they give out wonder scents and lavender can be very soothing. How about that, @treeguy ? A pond with a tiny bubbling fountain can also be very relaxing.

Something that rustles in the wind and nice to touch .. One best way is to have a meditation group on Sunday or Saturday to practise mindfulness or mindlessness?! I have seen a group of Indian ladies chanting totally atonally .. I bet anyone who hasn't been sleeping very well will certainly lapse into slumber!
Great ideas...
Can't have a bubbling pond though...not in our area...at least not just yet.

I do have the dry creek located in the Stumpery area. I've been talking with Nate @MOBOT who creates stumperies...he has been extremely helpful in choosing what will and won't work in our area. BoWood Farms also along with the conservation have given wonderful input.

Id like to participate in Wells Fargo community garden program.

I reached out to them too late last year for assistance.
 
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