Oakhurst is the mama bear of Wylde Center greenspaces. She has taught us and many others what to do and what not to do in the world of green spaces and community gardens.. Oakhurst is magical and whimsical and hearty. This garden is full of nooks and crannies and has it all including a cob house named Ox and a cat named Cardoon.
Oakhurst is here to serve the greater Atlanta community as a beautiful space to learn and enjoy. It has community plots, a greenhouse, a mini-farm, herb garden, chickens and pocket ecosystems throughout the site. It is an excellent model for community gardens and other like-minded non-profits. It is an excellent spot for big events hosted by the Wylde Center and outside organizations and individuals. Like all of our sites, it is an excellent place to hold field trips and to learn while being outside.
The Garden has 24 plots available for people from the community to grow vegetables and flowers.
Requirements for plot rental:
non-refundable $65 yearly plot fee,
current Wylde Center donor membership,
commitment to give 10 community service hours back to the Wylde Center.
The plot year runs March 1-February 28. For more information or to be placed on the wait list, please contact our Greenspace Director Josh at email@example.com
Team Chicken is a long running cooperative effort. Ten families care for the girls and divide up shifts and share the cost of feed and straw. Folks come twice a day to let the chickens out, feed them, close them up at night and collect eggs in exchange. Weekend coop-cleanings are also shared amongst the group.
Our coop is volunteer-built and it’s quite large at 8 ft x 5 ft x 6 ft. It’s up off the ground and has a slanted roof. It has a human door and a chicken door and two small sliding windows with screens. We have one laying box, but find the chickens don’t use it and lay on the floor of the coop in two favorite places. The hen house has a fenced in lot that’s about 350 square feet. We added a new adjacent apiary (bee yard) in March 2011 with three bee hives. The chickens love it. Birds and bees live together!
Many people ask us about what kind of chickens we have. Our chickens change yearly as we get new layers, but you can find anything from Lavender Orpingtons to Black and White polish Crested!
The Birds & The Bees -Our Girls work together well. Hive beetles and other pests go down into the ground around the hives as part of their life cycle; the hens gobble them up as snacks. Our bee hives are currently in transition and we are eager to get them up and running soon!
Wylde Woods work days at the Oakhurst Garden with DeKalb County Extension Master Gardeners:
Calling all forest lovers. Join Kat and Frances at the Oakhurst Garden to help and learn about our Native Woods! Just show up, sign in on the porch and dig in! Group service opportunities available with a max of 15 volunteers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with WYLDE WOODS VOLUNTEER in the subject line to schedule a group.
We have a beautiful cobb playhouse! It is a favorite attraction for our young garden explorers. The name of this wonderful structure is Ox and it was made from the earth by Aviva Kessler and our outstanding volunteers.
Our hives pollinate the garden and serve as a teaching tool for visitors, classes and camps. Our classes and camps offer hands on experience with feeding and caring for bees and with extracting delicious local honey from the hives. Visitors on Field trips get to taste the honey and learn about the benefits from bees from our staff. Our bees live with the chickens and thrive with the help of our beekeeper Veronique Perrot.
The pond was built in memory of Liz Chandler, an Agnes Scott College student who devoted many hours to creatures in the garden. Agnes Scott College, EcoWatch volunteers, and Emory students helped build the pond. Frogs have moved into the pond and are a constant source of enjoyment for the children who visit the garden. See if you can find the five goldfish calling the pond their home!
In 1997, the same year the garden was started, the garden was asked if it would like to plant a Peace Pole on its site. A Native American Shaman and Maori Medicine Man were present to dedicate the Peace Pole. As sage was burned, participants stood in a circle around the pole and were asked to share a thought. As Sally remembers it, the birds were especially loud that day joining in with the blessing of the Peace Pole.
Dedicated on May 6, 2000, the designation of the Oakhurst Community Garden as a Garden for Peace marks the first site of its kind in the network.
Other gardens in the network are located at the Atlanta History Center, Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Botanical Garden in Madrid, Spain, Lakewold in Tacoma, Washington, Pastoral Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, Columbia Theological Seminary, and on the grounds of the Sarah P. Duke Garden.
The Gardens for Peace dedication included the presentation of a special banner made by the neighborhood Girl Scout Troop.
Special activities included building scarecrows for the garden beds, listening to a storyteller and an opportunity for the children to write down their wishes for peace and place them on a special tree.
Oak Creek, a tributary to the West Shoal Creek runs through the garden property. The garden plans to restore the streambank using native trees, shrubs, and perennials to stabilize the bank. The Shoal Creek Watershed Alliance is a volunteer group that regularly monitors the water in the creek. In a recent survey of stream life, the group found small fish, salamanders, crayfish, flies, beetle larvae, and damselflie larvae.
Artist Statement / Matthias Neumann:
“Shelter II (basics)” is a site-specific installation that continues a body of work under the title “basics”, exploring an abstracted notion of form, material, space and utility. “Basics” is based on a constructive logic of additive 2×4 wood studs that allow a monumentality through every-day means.
The work wants to be experienced both as an abstract sculptural gesture as well as an interactive spatial environment. “Basics” encourages an uncertainty in the dialog between the viewer and the work, opening possibilities in the public quality and appropriation of the work. The temporality of the site-specific intervention is mirrored by the material and constructive logic of the work.
Matthias Neumann is trained as an architect and resides in Brooklyn, NY, where he works in the vague territory between art and architecture. For more information about Neumann, please visit http://www.normaldesign.com/
In 2010, with the mural on the side of our garden house looking a bit faded, we began a collaborative effort to make our dreams of a more colorful garden space materialize. Zach Monette, one of our dedicated volunteers, got the ball rolling by seeking out artists in the community and working with Ace Hardware and Sherwin Williams to acquire paint supplies, which they very generously donated to the project.
For more info about Shaun Thurston http://shaunthurston.com/artwork/1430654.html
Molly Rose Freeman Mural
In 2015 Molly Rose Freeman, an Atlanta Muralist was commissioned to do a recycling themed mural on the back wall of the Wylde Center offices. More information can be found at her website www.mollyrosefreeman.com
Cardoon is our Wylde Center cat. In 2013 the Wylde Center rescued him from the Dekalb Animal Shelter to help alleviate a rodent problem. Cardoon spent the first few months of his time with us inside and getting attached and acclimated to the space, and then was set free to roam the garden as he pleases. He has definitely been the best pest control investment we’ve ever made!
Cardoon gets fed once a day by staff and volunteers. He is well fed, so please don’t feed him any extra.
You will often hear Cardoon’s melancholy meow, but we assure you he is a very happy boy! He spends most of his days lounging in an office chair he “shares” with our plant sale manager, MJ or finding sun spots in the garden.
Educator & Oakhurst Garden Site Coordinator
Chris grew up in Rochester, MN and has lived all over the US: studying in Madison, WI, serving two years with AmeriCorps in Seattle, WA, and finishing up his Sustainable Community Development degree in Prescott, AZ. He returned to his hometown for a while to work as a garden manager for an alternative high school but decided to settle somewhere closer to the equator after skipping the Midwest winter/WWOOFing for several months in New Zealand. He then completed a farm apprenticeship in Mansfield, GA and joined the Wylde Center staff in late 2016 as an educator and site coordinator for Oakhurst Garden.
Favorite vegetable to grow: Lacinato kale
Favorite plant to grow: English Ivy (when it’s not horribly invasive to local ecosystems)
Favorite place to eat: Ria’s Bluebird