It’s a magnificent thing when you can take something that was lost and forgotten and turn into something beautiful again. It can be sad when you pass by streets that are filled with litter and no sense of pride. Geoff Schenkel of REsolve Studios and other volunteers decided to take matters into their own hands with a corner in Harmar Village. Together they have created an eclectic community garden for all to enjoy.
Geoff was kind enough to share his journey with the ever evolving garden. “There was an abandoned, dirty, white, concrete block building surrounded by a concrete parking lot. The left behind rotting cars and trash were the signs of neglect and carelessness but the barren quality to it was changing to anger, bitterness and despair. Anger and bitterness evidenced by the broken glass and used needles, a sign of despair. The only vegetation was a ragged patch of grass around the stop sign at the corner. During the time it was alive and being cared for when I was a child – I’m 43 – this was a gathering spot for people in the neighborhood and beyond. It was an ice cream shop similar to Cone & Shake. Prior to my earliest memories it was a Sinclair Oil service station. It was not easy for those of us who had fond memories of the ice cream parlor to have the building torn down.”
Geoff is very passionate about how the garden can prove to the neglectful that it doesn’t have to be that way. Geoff explains that “those who neglect are different than those who are rightfully angry because they are living with the neglect of others.” He says that “it is a creative response to the anger and the neglect; it is speaking to two audiences. It is an alternative to violence and an alternative to neglect. If we had just spray painted obscenities on the concrete people would not listen – or the anger would turn to rage.”
“The garden was created with materials readily available in the neighborhood; not waiting for someone to give us what was needed, not waiting for permission or a savior to do it for us. Then we became open to receiving gifts from the wider community. The garden is unique because of the wide variety of gifts. We embrace the uniqueness by joining together these gifts. The list of materials and where they came from could fill a book. People have given us trees, herbs, wild flowers, berry bushes, hostas and passion flowers. Where there was once no vegetation there are now 9 trees, 5 of which grow fruit. Anything we grow such as cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and berries we welcome those walking by to take and enjoy. These things are grown within objects such as tires and raised beds made with donated lumber. The raised bed walls are lovingly sculpted with the concrete that was broken out of the parking lot. Touches of metal found objects are added for visual interest and often in remembrance of lost loved ones. The objects given by others allow the garden to be a kind of resting place for memories,” he said.
When asked if the garden will ever be complete, Geoff says, “This transformation has been slow going over the last five years. It will never be complete. Creation is an ever-evolving process.”
So next time you’re in Harmar Village, make sure and take a gander at “REsolve Garden” on the corner of Puntam and Franklin Street in Marietta. Maybe it will inspire you to turn something that was once forgotten into a beautiful display of creativity.
Courtney moved to the area in 2005 to attend Ohio Valley University. She and her husband met in Marietta and moved to Columbus for five years. After working in the retail industry for over 10 years, they decided to move back to Marietta to raise their little girl, Harper. Courtney loves fashion and music because it helps define her personality.