Park Story: The Immaculate Conception Church Table

This article was originally published by the Herald Sun. See it here.

In 2003, Durham Central Park was a five-acre area full of bramble bushes, weeds and trash.

On the east side of Foster Street, South Ellerbe Creek ran through the park but was so overgrown with kudzu and bushes you couldn’t even see it.

The area which is now the DCP Pavilion, home of the Durham Farmer’s Market and many other events throughout the year, was a wasteland that needed lots of love.  The only part of the park that had been developed was the Grace Garden in the northwest corner of the park.  The rest of the five acres was pretty much a mess.

That same year Dan Jewel, a new DCP board member and local landscape architect, knew that with very little money to spare in the DCP bank account, we needed some volunteer help with some serious clean-up duties.  And besides, the DCP’s vision of the park was that of a community park – “Durham’s own big back yard” – so the idea of getting the larger community involved to help clean it up and get things rolling was a great idea waiting to happen.

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Meadowsweet Owners Just Can’t Help Themselves

This article was originally published by the Herald Sun. See it here

If you are a regular visitor to Durham Central Park, you may have noticed that the plant beds along the west side of Foster Street and the Grace Garden (in the northwest corner of the park on Roney street) have become much more beautiful in the past few years.

That’s because Jonathan Nyberg and Rebecca Wellborn of Meadowsweet Gardens & Patios ( www.meadowsweet.biz) have informally adopted Durham Central Park as their latest community project.  And we are SO happy they have!

DCP is not the first project Rebecca and Jonathan have taken on in Durham.  Their first foray was planting and maintaining containers at the old Joe and Jo’s, now Bull McCabe’s, where they worked in exchange for food.  Then they installed and planted containers for Self-Help Credit Union on Main Street.

About 10 years ago they moved their efforts around the corner to the Durham Arts Council where they noticed the sorry state of the gardens outside.  Working on a plan with Edith Eddleman (a landscape designer), they installed a beautiful array of flowers and have maintained the plantings there ever since.

Their first project at DCP was a number of years ago when Rebecca installed and maintained a medicinal plant garden in the SEEDS garden at the south end of the park along Hunt Street.  In the past few years, SEEDS has taken over the maintenance of that garden at the park.

A few years ago while visiting DCP to go to the farmer’s market or come to an event, they began to notice the planters along the west side of Foster Street were looking a bit unkempt.  And another day they noticed that the woody plants in the Grace Garden needed some pruning and the liriope had taken over many of the plant beds.  That’s when they decided to move their efforts to DCP.

They now come regularly to tend the gardens, bringing extra plants from their personal garden, installing new beds, rearranging the plants — and doing most of the work pro bono.  When asked why they have a habit of adopting public gardens, Jonathan had this to say:

“From the beginning of Meadowsweet, Rebecca and I have always had the urge to improve public places with plantings.  Since we’ve never done any ‘real’ marketing, we look at these projects as our marketing and advertising.  Besides we just love Durham, especially the downtown area, and want to make a contribution to its beautification.”

If you happen to see some busy gardeners working on the beds on Foster or the Grace Garden, it’s probably the Meadowsweet gardeners, doing their magic in Durham Central Park.  Thank you, Jonathan and Rebecca!

Come see us at the park soon!

 

Park Story: Decorative Railings

If you park in the Measurement, Inc lot to go to the Farmers Market, you already know there’s a new set of railings on the main stairs with an entry arch at the bottom.  It’s a collaboration between Liberty Artist Jackie MacLeod and Monkey Bottom Gallery owner and artist Joe Galas.

Turns out there’s an interesting story behind those railings…

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Park Story: The Leaf

Durham is an amazing place. In a few short weeks architecture students conceived, citizens and businesses donated funds, and a major artistic addition was constructed that is now being enjoyed by park visitors every day.

This space will serve many functions and we can’t wait to start organizing events and performances for all our neighbors. Thanks so very much to all who contributed.

We also want to extend our sincere thanks to the North Carolina State University College of Design Department of Architecture Design/Build Studio students and instructors led by Studio B Architecture/BuildSense members Randy Lanou, Erik Mehlman, and Scott Metheny as well as Ellen Cassilly of Ellen Cassilly Architect, pictured above, that generously signed up to spend their summer designing and constructing the newest feature of our beloved park.

We look forward to seeing you at the Leaf!

The Coolest Park in Durham

Board member Ben Weber created this video to explain why Durham Central Park is the “coolest park in Durham.”

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