We have returned. We had our final day in the Garden on Thursday 13th August. After much moving of weeds, earth, rocks, and gravel our work on the garden has come to an end. With the time and resources available we have put all our energy into creating a foundation and structure, the beginning of a garden that will grow and develop in the coming years.
Below is a breakdown of some of the elements we focused on with images of before and after. We will post more information very soon, thank you again everyone for your support, we could not have achieved this without you,
Miriam, Melissa and Ronald
Creating the structure
Weeding – laying bare the soil for landscaping
Leveling and Landscaping – changing the typography of the space by creating leveled areas, a section of which we inserted painted cirles of wood to create a colourful change of texture beneath the foot. We also created a circular mound, planting areas for fruit trees and a series of 3 raised beds for herbs and medicinal plants. All of these elements incorporated either wood we salvaged from local companies in Beit Jala, or large rocks which were donated by Beit Jala Municipality
Construction – working with local carpenters to construct a pergola that will function as a shelter as the garden matures. We planted climbing plants – bougainvillea, and Jasmine – along the wall, and grape vines along the path side of the pergolla. The carpenters also helped us with the sawing and moving of felled olive wood on site.
Wood treatment – We used three olive trunks on site, sanded and varnished them, to create fixed benches that run the lenght of the pergola. We also cut and treated other olive trunks into stumpes to be used as independantly movable seating.
Laying of gravel – Originally we were interested in looking into focusing on ‘Beit Jala’ being the word for grass carpet. From the moment we arrived it became aparant that this did not make sense. Palestine has extremely dry summers, irrigation is essential and due to stringent water regulations – sometimes resulting in waters sourses been cut off for periods as long as 20 days – we made a decision against using this material. Astro turf was an option discussed, but we decided against it due to the expense and complexity of the installation of this particular material.
The material, in huge abundance, that became fundimental to the design of the garden was stone in all shapes and forms. Palestine is renowned for its abundance of this material and so it became the most logical choice
Irrigation system – On the second last day of the project a local agricultural engineer came to visit the project. He announced to us that he had wished to donate plants, herbs and trees but on seeing the garden concluded how essential it was to have an irrigation system in place. He said that this was something he would also donate, work began on the installtion this straight away.