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Rumi

Community Garden

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Many of you who have met me know that I have been working for quite some time on a design for a garden at the Meeting of the Roads. The design process will continue for some time yet before the first tool is put to the ground and the first seeds are sown. The most important key to a successful garden design is observation of natural processes and human interaction with the existing site. I intend to continue observing the site through a full year before implementation begins. That will likely be sometime around Year 6, between Day 250 and Day 300 (ideally Day 270).

After many months of a personal observation and design process, I feel it is the appropriate time to open the process up to the community. This garden will be constructed on No Man's Land and as such it will belong to the entire community. I will actively work to construct, maintain, and grow the garden to provide for my own needs, but the fate of the garden is in the hands of the entire community. Everyone is invited to cultivate some space and I ask that everyone respect the space.

I will be working as organizer and design facilitator, and I would like to see a core group of dedicated individuals come together to collaborate on this project. If the forum moderators would please grant a dedicated subforum to the Community Garden, this will the primary area of communication.

There are a number of reasons I have chosen the Meeting of the Roads as a garden site. The first is of course, the overlooking of the roads themselves and all the passerby's. It is nice to have visibility of the people and it is nice for the people to see the garden as they go on their way. The other reasons have to do with our endless sunlight and a need for water retention. I see how dry other areas of No Man's Land can be and I think this place will not have that problem. We all know that at the Meeting of the Roads, "Two clouds block one sun's heat". Another important element is the hillside.

The garden is being designed on the south face of the hillside overlooking the meeting of the roads. The primary design element is contour gardening. Hillside contour gardening is in my experience the most effective way to catch and store water in the soil, making the subsoils a sponge and allowing the slow penetration of rainwater in the topsoil. All other design ideas can be wrapped around this initial concept. My current vision has a central tree and sitting area, orchard gardens, an open vegetable garden, and an aquaculture pond, among other things. I have some initial sketches that some of you have seen, and there will be many more maps and sketches before we are ready to proceed with implementation. I suspect there will be many ideas that people would like to see in their community garden, and we will have a collaborative process whereby your ideas can be integrated into the final design, even if you choose not to participate in the core Community Garden group.

The following areas will be part of the group process of creating the garden (this list is not all-inclusive):

Observation of the Meeting of the Roads and the people who pass by
Deeper research of the elements of the Meeting of the Roads including the four cubes, the three roads and their destinations, the Dark Slime which stretches across two of the cubes, the tree by the side of the road and other existing vegetation (This will all probably be developed as a knowledge collection)
Design process, including base mapping and design mapping, plant lists, consideration of soil amendments, infrastructure, community outreach, etc.
Artwork!
Gathering of seeds
Developing a collection of garden tools
Garden construction
Growing food and medicine :D

If you want to get involved, post here on the forum and state your intended level of involvement. You can also send me a private message if you would like. If you want to speak in person, I can usually be found at the Meeting of the Roads, and you can also send me a message in-game.

Finally, a little spoiler preview. The gathering of seeds will likely involve a series of quests, with a possibility for wishpoint rewards. More details to come as we get closer to that stage.

Thanks everyone for your participation. Let's grow!

Edited by Rumi

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[quote name='Kyphis the Bard' timestamp='1302330262' post='82203']
I would be interested in: Research, Seed Hunting, and the Manual Labor involved in setting up a garden.
[/quote]

I know a certain character of mine would love to help out with this too. Excellent idea!

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I'm glad to see some interest slowly developing in the community. I think we will continue to see this project grow as we get to work.

At the moment, I see two places where we can begin work.

The first is among the researchers. I think we could start with the four cubes, the three roads, and the dark slime, as these elements stand out quite a bit.

The dark slime consists of a shade and an elemental. I have been attempting to find someone who might sell me a shade for this research and I have come up short up to now. If any of the participating members have a shade, or have had one previously, please speak up. I find it curious that a shade would be located on this side of the Gazebo of Equilibrium, so close to Loreroot. I wonder also if the shade has any specific relation to the elemental, that they would be the creatures summoned by the dark slime. Or perhaps they are the dark slime?

The Meeting of the Roads is specifically labeled as a meeting of three roads, but I don't think it is the only such meeting in the realm. I wonder if you all can think of any other meetings that have similar features to the Meeting of the Roads. I have read Akasha's forum posts in Kelle'tha Order about Necrovion areas reflecting other areas. I don't have access to Necrovion and it has been some time since I visited. If I'm not mistaken, possibly the Vale of Oblivion seems a similar meeting of roads. What is different, as I see it, is the three roads come together in front of a hill, whereas the roads at the Vale of Oblivion come together in front of a massive crevice (with a mound?). I'd be interested to hear some thoughts.

And the four cubes. We all know cubes play an important role in the realm. We have had them set in our hand, and we have been inside them. I don't know all the places that cubes can be found in the realm, although I have noted one in particular. Rendril Revant has in his knowledge collection a research about the Aramory, where he points out some cubes in the background of the scene and tries to make some sense of them. It appears that the cubes at the Aramory are the same cube rocks foudn at the Meeting of the Roads. Coincidence? C'mon, this is MD ;) Other places they might be found? Relation between wooden soul cubes and cube rocks?


The second place we can begin work is in a design/artwork capacity, with input from seed collectors as well. I think we could begin developing possible plant lists for the garden.

These can include anything from small herbs to massive trees, and everything in between. 7 Layer food forest: Upper canopy, lower canopy, shrub layer, herbacious layer, ground cover layer, root layer, vine layer. We won't have every plant in every place, but we can always be thinking in three dimensions.

As plant lists are developed, the artists could begin renderings of some of the plants we come up with. When the earthworks designs are completed, we can incorporate individual plant sketches into the grand garden design.

Something important to think about. Any plant that is sketched, would be well to have several versions, incorporating time. For perennials, that might be one sketch for each season. For annuals, it might include a seedling sketch, a vegetation sketch, a flowering sketch, a fruiting sketch, and a dying sketch.


As mentioned in the original post, I would like to get a dedicated Groups and Factions sub-forum for the Community Garden where we can grant access rights. Most of what we discuss will be completely open to the public. It would be preferable for the actual designs, including mapping, grand sketches, and the like to be held privately among the participating members until the designs are at or near completion, when we could open them to the public for comments and recommendations.

Thanks everyone for your participation!

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[quote name='Evil East' timestamp='1302591789' post='82390']
Rumi, I am interested and could be part of the researching...may I? :)
[/quote]

Certainly. If you have any thoughts, please chime in!

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[quote name='Shadowseeker' timestamp='1302595205' post='82394']
I do have a spare shade, which I might part with. PM me with a deal?

I'm not interested in joining, but might find it interesting to watch.
[/quote]


I have spoken with Shadowseeker and I do not have the means at the moment to purchase his shade. If any other participant wants to purchase a shade for research and has something valuable to trade (or lots of money), send Shadowseeker a message. Otherwise, anyone else who has a shade or experience with one, feel free to speak up.

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Post-birthday party bump.

Anyone who is interested in the research, please chime in and we can get the conversation going.

Artists, please consider some plants you might be interested in drawing.

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I discover this topic now and find it very interesting and promising. I still have to understand all details, but the idea looks just great.

I am interested in research as well. And also in seeds gathering. I seem to undrestand that you intend to cover that part through quests, but if there is anything aside quests I could help with for seeds gathering, I would be glad to.
I would also be willing to volunteer for any boring task (or labor task) that does not involve any particular skill but time and willingness.

It's just a great project.

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[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303313238' post='83108']
I am interested in research as well. And also in seeds gathering. I seem to undrestand that you intend to cover that part through quests, but if there is anything aside quests I could help with for seeds gathering, I would be glad to.
[/quote]

First of all, seed gathering begins with the development of plant lists. That begins when someone starts naming plants they'd like to see in the garden. Here's a start. Strawberries! :D

I like the idea of seed gathering as quests and it will not be just me assigning quests for the seeds (although I do intend to set up an extended series of seed gathering quests). I think anyone who intends to plant in the garden can develop seed gathering quests just as anyone can participate in the quests. As soon as we begin to develop plant lists, prospective quest designers can begin to develop ideas for the seed gathering. I hope to see clicky quests as well as roleplay quests, question quests, puzzle quests, etc.

I see the quests as a way of bringing other people into the project who might not be interested or have any experience with gardening. I would also enjoy questing myself to help other people find seeds. I could imagine quest rewards could be anything from coinage and aged creatures to rare items and wishpoints, depending on the scope of the quest.


[quote name='Passant the Weak' timestamp='1303313238' post='83108']
I would also be willing to volunteer for any boring task (or labor task) that does not involve any particular skill but time and willingness.
[/quote]

There is no boring task in the garden. It's a labor of love! :wub: Time and willingness is all you need. Skill comes from experience.

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Chewett and I have discussed the development of the Community Garden as a dedicated sub-forum within Groups and Factions, which will use access permissions for some of the deeper sub-forums. He would like me to make member access lists beforehand so he can do as much of the work as possible up front.

I request that anyone else interested in participating please go ahead and post now, even if you're not sure about the time and energy you can commit. This way, I can get you the required permissions while the forum is being built and save Chewett the frustration of editing permissions after the fact. Membership will not be closed once the sub-forums are developed, but the garden forum will require a lot of administrative work and this just makes it easier.

Once the forum structure has been developed, I will be publishing my initial design work in the Garden Design sub-forum. This will be closed to the public and open to everyone who has chosen to involve themselves. I thank everyone who has offered to participate for your interest. I encourage you to begin contributing your research, artwork, design, etc. as soon as the sub-forums are developed and the initial design concepts are visible, so we can get the ball rolling. (Of course, no need to wait if you feel the urge to contribute now ;) )

Let's Grow!

Edited by Rumi

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[quote name='Grido' timestamp='1303561911' post='83259']
Can I ask...why is there a need for the garden designs to be hidden?
[/quote]

You certainly can ask and I'll answer the best I can. It's something I have pondered for a while and decided that there might be some benefit to keeping the master design hidden.

The master design will be the coming together of all the other design areas, which will be open to the public. Open forums will include plant lists, artworks, research (at least open for now), and others.

I thought to keep the master design accessible only to participants for a few reasons. One is simply to build anticipation and surprise for those who aren't participating in design. I don't care for secrets, but I love a good completed surprise. Think about the anticipation built when Tribunal became inaccessible and then the excitement at its release last week. A second reason is to give a little something special for those who do participate. I think that the opportunity to view hidden master design process might encourage people to take some small part, where they otherwise would not. Finally, I have seen how people tear each others' creative ambitions apart on the forums, and I would prefer outsiders to wait until we have a more complete project before searching for "holes".

As participants step up and organize alongside me, I will ask their opinions and moderate the forum accordingly. If people would rather have a hidden forum opened, or an open forum hidden, I will go with the will of the community.

I hope this answers your question Grido. If you think it makes more sense to keep it open, I'd be interested to hear your opinion.

Do you think you might want to get involved? I'd love to have you working with us. Edited by Rumi

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It's interesting to see you've been neg rep'd twice for that post, rather odd in my opinion.

Answers it to a fair enough degree, the reason I would want it open is so that you face the people finding said holes as you develop the idea, rather than make a full idea and potentially be pressured to change it all based on the full force of said pressure. Facing this at a later date may end up killing the idea.

I have little interest in the garden project itself, but if it does go hidden, then i wouldn't mind being allowed in it for the hole-picking purpose

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[quote name='Grido' timestamp='1303648986' post='83326']
Answers it to a fair enough degree, the reason I would want it open is so that you face the people finding said holes as you develop the idea, rather than make a full idea and potentially be pressured to change it all based on the full force of said pressure. Facing this at a later date may end up killing the idea.
[/quote]

I think you may be right about this, Grido. I admit that I have some fear about a negative backlash and I have been wanting a hidden forum to post the designs I have already come up with. Perhaps you are wise to recommend facing the pressure as it comes rather than suddenly facing a potentially overwhelming flood of pressure. Initially, I had in mind to develop a garden myself and I came to a conclusion that a community garden with a public forum could see implementation beyond my personal papers. Making a public garden and then hiding the design may be just shooting myself in the foot.

There appears to be interest in the Community Garden. It would be nice to see some of the interested participants begin to contribute. Perhaps the publication of my initial designs will be the missing link that moves us past this initial stage of setting intentions and onto the real work.

So, without further ado...


http://magicduel.invisionzone.com/topic/9566-community-garden-design/

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I would like to donate a few artworks to this project as well. Did you have any specific requests?


I work better when given a more specific and projected goal Edited by Pomegranate

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[quote name='Pomegranate' timestamp='1303937654' post='83514']
I would like to donate a few artworks to this project as well. Did you have any specific requests?


I work better when given a more specific and projected goal
[/quote]

Thanks for offering to contribute Pom. I really like your artwork and it will be great to have some of your plants and elements in the garden. We have offers by Blackthorn and Prince Marvolo and Amoran K Kol to develop artwork too, so you'll be in good company.

I haven't yet divided the Community Garden into sub-forums. I am branching it out into different threads. The following threads are ones to keep an eye on to develop artworks.

Community Garden Design
http://magicduel.invisionzone.com/topic/9566-community-garden-design/

Community Garden Plant List
http://magicduel.invisionzone.com/topic/9588-community-garden-plant-list/

Community Garden Artwork
http://magicduel.invisionzone.com/topic/9589-community-garden-artwork/

If you read in the community garden design, we are considering grapevine and clematis covered arbors to provide shade over the path, with interspaced rosebushes. I'd love to see how you might draw such an element. A google search for grape arbor may give you some ideas.

Another element we haven't discussed would be a strawberry patch. I was thinking maybe a thick patch of strawberries, with scattered clumps of borage growing throughout. Don't forget, drawing borage means drawing the honeybees that always accompany it :)

Edited by Rumi

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Toolshed is a must. Should be by the path. Scarecrow would be a fun addition. I wonder if we could hold a scarecrow drawing competition and maybe even award a prize for the best rendering.

Pumpkin patch is definitely a good idea, too. Pumpkins play a role in the most traditional native american plant guild, "the three sisters", maize, beans, and squash (or pumpkin). The maize grows upward quickly while the squash spreads out along the ground, providing weed control and keeping the soil moist by shielding from sunlight. The pole beans cling to the maize stalks and use it as a trellis. They are legumes and fix nitrogen from the air to fertilize the corn and squash that they grow beside. Without question, an impressive guild. We could use that guild or substitute similar types of plants and create our own similar guild. In my garden last year, I grew the three sisters and substituted watermelon for the squash since it plays the same role.

I have been also considering a greenhouse and I am not sure where would be the best location for it. One idea I have toyed with is building the greenhouse right into the hillside. This might look really cool and would also use the stable temperature of the earth for heating and cooling, depending on the season. My one concern is what would be the benefit of the greenhouse. Generally a greenhouse is used to start seedlings early in the season, when it would be too cold at night for them to survive outside. Since the sun shines all day, I wonder if the temperature would ever get so low that it would merit a greenhouse. I know greenhouses can have other purposes, like retaining moisture, but I wonder if it would be worthwhile considering our other constraints (like space).

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