- State of Arizona Sustainability Reports
Windy River Institute (WRI) Projects
Symposiums Series Archives
- Stardus New Ventures Concept Rationale Mood Challenges >
- Community Capacity Building 09
- Colorado River Development Symposium 2001
- International AZ Centenniel World Faire proposal
- Colorado River Development Symposium Archive 2004
- Colorado River Development Symposium Community Capacity Building 2007
- 2 B or not to B Sustainable Conference RECAP by Barnabus Kane
- Colorado River Development Symposium 2008
- Tri University Forum Northern Arizona University
- Other Voices
- Cerbat Home
- Have Your Say
"Secret Garden"A Garden Grows In It"
The myth that nothing grows in Golden Valley is being shattered by many residents who have beautiful and flourishing “Secret Gardens.” One such resident is MT Stauffer out on North Estrella.
For the last 7 years Mel, a heavy equipment operator by trade, constant gardener and major recycler, has been designing and growing such a garden on his 2.5 acres overlooking the Sacramento Wash. “ I intend for this to become a permanent garden
tribute to the beauty of Golden Valley. As the years change the face of area and little is left of the original look , land all scraped and houses and commercial everywhere, its rural ambience, long valley views, it’s clear night sky will still be able to be seen, enjoyed and remembered in this garden.”.
The “Overlook Gardens at the Sacramento Wash “ now 7 years in the making looks to become a permaculture center. (Permaculture is the art and science of designing human beings' place in the environment.Permaculture design teaches you to understand and mirror the patterns found in healthy natural environments. You can then build profitable, productive, sustainable, cultivated ecosystems, which include people, and have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems)
The center will offer education and hands on lessons in landscaping and home food production, harvesting and preservation, rain water harvesting and sustainable community planning. Classes will begin in the fall taught by Landscape Architect Barnabus Kane, and Andrew Millison, both from Prescott AZ. “Growing your own food is a perfect way to keep it real” says this 61 year old who attributes his health to growing his own as much as possible … getting in the dirt and doing for one self., being self sufficient and knowing you are eating as healthy and cost effectively as possible. It’s the old Victory Garden Concept from the 2nd world war only updated.
It’s also a tribute to my grandfather Martine Benito and the wonderful ranch he had in Santa Barbara, California where I spent many glorious summers overlooking the bay. He did it all himself, even built his house. It was a magical place and it made a lasting impression on me and my place is my interpretation on the memory.
Mel boasts 10 intimate seating and eating areas in and around his gardens and specimen Ocotillos at 2 stories tall and Creosotes as big as you’ve ever seen and in full bloom in brilliant yellow at this time of year, dot the landscape as well as many fruitless Mulberry, Globe Willow Mesquite and an assortment of fruit bearing trees that shade the garden. The garden itself is decorated with an eclectic mix of recycled and refurbished furnishings and original art. “I’m a recycler …personal resource management is the thing with me. Waste not Want not”
Sun flowers and rosemary, garlic and geraniums, zucchini and Zinnias co-exist in this companion planting concept where conserving water is a must and where Mel looks to show that a lush garden is possible with even in a Xer scape planting mandate.
In a couple of years Stauffer looks to turn his main house into Golden Valley's first fine restaurant. “Even though I’m at the bottom of the valley I’m on a knowell overlooking the wash and have a great unobstructed view of the north valley and the range that is the perfect country ambience for a fine restaurant” The Overlook will feature home grown fruits and produce, fresh baked goodies and organic beef and poultry that Mel will use for his special BBQ to eat in or take out. “Real Home cooking, with REAL FOOD, and a swell view and relaxing ambience. Who could ask for more??
In the mean time, Mel continues to plant, harvest, and design his next project, a rain water harvesting system to take advantage of the rains when they come and capture some of the water that rushes by in the wash when it’s running.
The Overlook garden can be seen by appointment with Mel by calling, (928) 897-9174, and the grounds are available by donation for weddings, intimate parties, and gatherings.
Copyright © 2009 windyriverinstitute.com