For the second year in a row, an army of highly motivated WILD Wes members is spending the summer slaving away in the WestCo Courtyard while you bum around all day on your (choose one) couch/internship. Last summer, they left us with an artful pile of something called “mulch.” This summer, the student group seems to have transformed the familiar courtyard into an elaborate labyrinth-type crop circle extravaganza,
also known as well as a “western shrub-tolerant plant border.” I’m not on campus at the moment, but I caught a few photo updates of the project via the University’s photo Tumblr. The changes are striking, to say the least.
Update: After this post first went up, WILD Wes member Manon Lefevre ’14 sent me a few details and corrections regarding the project, including the fact that the labyrinth is only temporary:
The shrub-tolerant plant border is along the western edge of the site, which is the top (not the bottom where the labyrinth is). These are hardy, edible fruit bushes that will tolerate harsher conditions (for instance, the slating on the sidewalks in the winter that inevitably run off down). You can see pictures on the blog and blog posts about it; it’s up at the top (in other words, spans from down near Weshop to all the way up by Foss 4).
Also, the labyrinth is merely a temporary feature in what will become a large social space, which has yet to be designed. Ground cover will hopefully be seeded in the fall months, at which point the labyrinth will disappear.
Last summer, Wesleying checked in with the WILD Wes team and interviewed one of its key members, Katie McConnell ’13, about the group’s ambitious plans. “In the long term, we’re trying to add in some botanical color and texture to Zonker Harris Day, while keeping plenty of space open for people to hang out in,” McConnell said then. Looks like they’ve succeeded on that front. (Edit: Lefevre also points out that the group’s plans have changed pretty substantially since that 2011 interview—in fact, that work took place before the WestCo courtyard design had even been created.) (Of course, WestCo’s new development isn’t the only notable labyrinth on Wesleyan’s campus.)
Once again, you can keep up with the group’s ambitious landscaping progress on the World Wide Web via their blog, WILD WestCo, which features sordid tales of plant gurus named Nancy, giant wasp attacks, and “one very bold groundhog.” For last year’s (somewhat outdated) interview, click here. Most of the photos below are via Wesleyan Photo, but a few are courtesy of WILD WestCo:
[via Wesleyan Photo Tumblr]