HorizonsMay 26, 2021

updated May 26, 2021

Meditation Garden Springs to Life

Seniors design tranquil space on campus

Earlier in the fall, Nya Mielke ’21 wasn’t sure the Meditation Garden she and classmates Sarah Briggs and Brooke Telfer envisioned would actually take shape.

Yesterday morning — the last day of classes — the trio cut the ribbon on the student-designed and student-built Meditation Garden at the convergence of the paths from the Main Building, Witherspoon Hall, and the Ara West Grinnell 1901 Greenhouse.

The dedication was the culmination of their Horizons internship with Greenhouse Manager Marian Rutledge, who guided the students as they brought their vision to reality. During the course of their Garden Design internship, the group met with landscape architects, learned about plants and landscape features, created a budget, consulted with the School’s Facilities team, and worked through iterations of their final design.

When spring arrived, they set out — tools in hand — to reshape the space with the help of Ms. Rutledge and Building and Grounds Coordinator Tom Boino. Teams of ninth-graders pitched in several mornings, lending crucial labor to the effort.

The contemplative space includes a mix of junipers, dianthus, Japanese iris, “Hameln” fountain grass, and other plantings, with several prominent stone features. Three perimeter benches offer space to sit and reflect. The island’s centerpiece is a saucer magnolia, a gift from the Class of 2001, with support in 2018 from Vaunie Graulty, the longtime director of the Leonhardt Academic Skills Center at MHS.

Funding for the garden was provided by the Class of 1970 as part of this year’s double reunion.

“We are so proud of what we’ve done, and we are so happy to leave this,” said Brooke, who thanked ninth-graders, adults, and even the random passersby who stopped to help. “I love this community. Thank you.”

Garden Dedication

Dedication of the student-designed and student-built Meditation Garden at the convergence of the paths from the Main Building, Witherspoon Hall, and the Ara West Grinnell 1901 Greenhouse.

 

“In the beginning, I didn’t expect it to get to this phase before we graduated, so it’s nice to do the official opening before graduation,” Nya added. “Whenever we come back we can see it, and see everyone enjoying it, and it’s been great to just see people stop by.”

“Thank you to everybody who helped, the Freshies especially,” Sarah added, before the trio cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new space. “We can’t wait to see what you do with it and expand on it later.”

Watch the Dedication