an experimental space where art and life co-mingle in the service of community, sustainability, and agriculture.

New Design!

When we first made the Garden Redux home vegetable garden, it was designed as a parterre garden. I liked how the design looked like a quilt, and its small beds were quite manageable for beginning gardeners like us.

A few things have changed since then, though. With the addition of chickens, and our study of permaculture principles, we realized it would be great to have some areas especially for the chickens (paddocks) and to implement some more comprehensive design ideas.

So, over the winter we played around with several designs. The one we developed that we liked the best involves using more of the areas of the garden that get the best sun, integrating a changing chicken paddock system so we can grow fodder for the birds, and standardized 3 foot wide beds and paths.  More on the new garden beds as they become activated.  Here is a sneak peak from the installation!

Vernal Equinox Greetings, from Garden Redux!  Here we have heralded spring with a hot box outside (we are pleased  to report it has started sprouting already) and seedlings inside (also beginning to burst forth).

More news soon!

In celebration of Natalie!  Congratulations to Garden Redux member Natalie who got admitted last week to art school. We will miss you when you go off to college… but your art carries the Garden Redux spirit forward wherever you go. (Those are Natalie’s prints above). Natalie was only 13 when we started the Mobile Studio, and she was a green-haired 16 when she read the Garden Redux Familyfesto at MoMA’s Common Senses (see photos from this by selecting the file folder icon at the top right of the page above). Just like in the garden, seasons change and life moves forward. A big “congratulations” to sweet Natalie as she begins to fly the nest.

Last February we rode a bus to a very chilly Washington, DC — to participate in a call to action concerning climate change. The tribal elders from the Idle No More movement spoke, the founder of 350.org - Bill McKibbon- spoke, and we felt the power of showing up to take a stand for the Earth and clean energy sustainability. Garden Redux as witness to (and participant in) the most important conversation of our time. DC is not usually a day trip for us, but it was worth six hour ride each way for an important three hours of protest and learning.

Happy to be working with KNOX, Inc.

Feeling so LUCKY to be working closely with the Knox Community Gardens in Hartford. By serving as an Artist in Residence with them I can put my creativity to use to benefit many communities of growers. My first job? Listen and learn. To me, art and gardens just naturally go together. There is big potential here, and we are enjoying building a solid relationship as a foundation for productive collaboration.  Charmaine Craig, the KNOX Community Garden Liaison is one of my favorite people, and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her.

YAY Gwen, the little red hen! We salute you!  On November 21, she laid her first egg: a perfect, brown, good-sized egg no less! She has been laying one a day ever since. What a hen! She is the littlest, and the lowest in the pecking order to the other birds. But she is our star these days.

Front page, section A coverage from the Hartford Courant.

E Pluribus Unim, a space for conversation and the commons. 2013. Hartford, CT.

Our chickens have grown up! We moved their coop and run into the vegetable garden in November so they can forage and eat from the gleanings of the garden. They LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  Lots of good eats for them, and lots of fun eating bugs too.  Of course, they are fertilizing the soil all day too, which is great. In the summer it is important to separate chickens from leafy vegetables, so as to avoid getting sick from contamination from their droppings, but now that the harvest is in, they can go to town.

It was a great growing season in 2013! These photos were from October, one of the last harvests. We are learning + our soil is stronger + good weather in spring summer and fall. Feeling blessed.

Garden Redux, this time as Carol Padberg, Natalie Padberg Bartoo, and Dan Army, has produced a poster celebrating the Community Gardens in Hartford that are supported by Knox. The poster will be introduced at Envisionfest in Hartford on September 20th, 2013. Stop by next Saturday at the Knox space right in front of the Old State House on Main Street in downtown Hartford to enjoy the Knox site, relax, and catch up with the Knox gardens community.

Garden Redux, this time as Carol Padberg, Natalie Padberg Bartoo, and Dan Army, has produced a poster celebrating the Community Gardens in Hartford that are supported by Knox. The poster will be introduced at Envisionfest in Hartford on September 20th, 2013. Stop by next Saturday at the Knox space right in front of the Old State House on Main Street in downtown Hartford to enjoy the Knox site, relax, and catch up with the Knox gardens community.

Okay. Not everyone wants to watch a one-hour BBC documentary on chicken psychology. I totally understand. But for a new chicken keeper, this segment of the BBC’ “The Private Life of Chickens” is really fascinating.  For example, I found out that chickens’ eyes can function independently from one another, one eye can look at the ground for food while the other is being used to scan the area for predators. Hmmm! There is also a really great section here on exactly how the “pecking order” works (it’s basically an intimidating glare that does the trick). Of course, any gardener will enjoy the gorgeous Devon farm of Jane, the woman who runs a chicken rescue operation to allow chickens who have been layers in factory farms for 18 months to then be adopted and live (for the first time) a life that includes fresh air, ground beneath their feet, and space to explore and really be a bird. So, in this heat wave, I give you another reason to get comfortable, cool drink in hand, and be still — to take in a chicken documentary!  (Yes, I am becoming a chicken nerd.)

Garden Redux Summer 2013

Welcome to the third summer of Garden Redux. May brought bunnies, June brought chicks! If you are new to Garden Redux, you can scan our history by selecting the file icon in the upper right, to see our Mobile Studio adventure in 2011, how the garden began, and then last year’s Familyfesto presentation at MoMA. This summer marks the beginning of a new collaboration with the KNOX foundation. I am an Artist in Residence for the community gardens in Hartford. Stay tuned on that. More news to come. And always, behind the scenes, is the garden itself. More on that soon too. This is the garden’s third year, and we are off to a very healthy start. Finger’s crossed!

The chicks at three and a half weeks. They have gotten so much taller this week; they are certainly less round.  They also do all those chicken things now: scratching and pecking around for insects, preening, turning their head to the side as if to say “what’s that?” They are starting to spend more and more time outside, which they love. Our girls, Dot, Emily and Gwen, doing their thing!

Week two, and our girls are already getting the beginnings of tails and wing feathers!

They have very distinct personalities. Dot (the black and white one) is clearly the head hen. When she was nervous during the first hour we had the chicks (and before we set the heat lamp up) she pecked the others’ beaks. Ouch! The expression “the pecking order” is no joke!

Emily (the light yellow one) worried me when they first arrived because she was so sleepy. But once she adjusted, she is an assertive, quick bird.  She is also a snuggler, and will cuddle and drowse off in your hands, very adorable.

Gwen (darker yellow) is meek and smaller. Her breed is a more petite breed than the other two (she is a Red Star and they are Plymouth Rocks.)  She is very sweet, and very fast. She jumped out of my hands the first time I held her — and dove head first into a cup of tea! Luckily it wasn’t a hot cup of tea!  She was fine — it made me realize how firmly you have to hold them.

These photos are from their first time out in the grass.