Body Transect

At the EPA we’ve been exploring different approaches to field science and ecology — embodied methodologies that include the sensual, the unseen, the metaphysical. In the videos above, the body is used a ruler – a unit and variable to measure the length of the garden. Catherine’s study resulted in 11.5 bodies (5’8”) or 65.17 feet; Chris’ study resulted in 11 bodies (6’0”) or 66 feet.

Surveying Urban Weeds Islands

Today we explored a number of weedy islands that border nearby Franklin Avenue, and foraged for mugwort to make dream pillows. Luck Island was looking flush with life, although we are speculating about the soil quality along the southern edges which are high in sand, glass and have evidence of frequent compaction. We also began to explore in more detail an “enchanted wild garden” on the corner filled with milkweed, a jungle of everlasting pea (Lathyrus latifolius), flowering prickly lettuce, wild grasses, a variety of creeping vines, lambsquarter and other weedy friends. At the base of the southwestern edge of the fence is a small opening where a community of feral cats reside. A perfect hiding place amidst the city’s layers and rhythms.

Between a rock and a plant place

The EPA’s open garden hours continued Sunday with a new score from collective member Carrie Ahern. Carrie asked participants to engage in a collaborative mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) tea ceremony to tap into the unconscious dream potential of the plant. As a rhizomatic organism, mugwort is known for its ability to enhance dreams, perfect in a tea before bedtime. After touching, smelling, and making a tea, each participant shared a snippet of their dreams on a ribbon now attached to a patch of mugwort in the EPA’s urban weeds garden.

A Brief Romance with a Weed

Today, EPA guides activated the urban weeds garden and engaged visitors in a range of experiences. We experimented with a new score developed by Andrea that continues her Radical Care Sitting practice asking participants to create a weedy collective plant label in response to a series of embodied inquiries. Catherine also shared three new scores developed for the garden, including one called A Brief Romance with a Weed. And Chris began to explore (Outer)Field Science Practices – experimenting with novel approaches to urban geology, plant identification, meteorology, and neighborhood mapping.

Bull thistle en vogue

A patch of bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) are almost in full vogue at the EPA Weeds Garden. We can already see bright purple blooms surrounded by a thorny exterior that stands nearly 6.5 feet tall. The thistle can produce about 100 to 300 seeds per flowerhead, and anywhere from 1 to over 400 flowerheads per plant. The majority of seeds fall close to the base of the plant, while dense patterns of seedlings radiate outward from the mother. The thistle is strongest when flowering, and most resistant to chemical herbicides in this stage of its development.

We invite you to stand tall and vogue like the thistle.

Urban Weeds Community Garden Mapping: day 1

EPA explores the eastern half of Pacific Street, extending the Urban Weeds Community Garden to include the MTA island and Luck Garden.

A process of Radical Care Sitting (pictured above) offers an inventory and extraction of waste so the plants can breathe and talk to us again.