As a community and a family we say farewell to Barbara Angel, an active leader and passionate community member of Village Gardens who passed away last month.
In addition to her position as a Community Health Worker, over the years Barbara volunteered much of her time at the Seeds of Harmony community garden. Barbara was involved in every aspect of planning and organizing the Seeds of Harmony garden when it first began 12 years ago. As a graduate of the Oregon State University (OSU) Master Gardener Program, shecontributed so much knowledge and skill to the garden and to her neighbors. About seven years ago, Barbara had the great idea to start a Peace Garden in the community garden. She thought a peace garden would fit perfectly with the goals of Seeds of Harmony, in which community members strive for “things to run harmoniously,” using conflict resolution to ensure that "everyone feels safe in the garden.” With the help of fellow community members during a work party, a 20 by 50 foot area was dug up and cleared for the Peace Garden. Barbara wanted this to be a safe space for people “to come and sit for some peace of mind; a place to be quiet, to hear the birds, to listen to the leaves of the cheery trees blowing in the wind.”
Many diverse plants, flowers, and medicinal herbs grow in the Peace Garden- all planted intentionally to create a tranquil environment. Goldenrod, a tall wild flower that can grow up to five feet tall, lines the perimeter of the garden to keep the space more secluded. Fragrant lavender and colorful succulents are found throughout the garden, as well as alyssum, bamboo, and strawberry bushes. The herb beds grow low to the ground with mint, echinacea, lemon balm, chamomile, yarrow, and St. John’s wort. Barbara, a huge tea enthusiast, made her own tea using the mint and lemon balm that grew in the garden. In one corner of the garden is a patchwork of small pebbles, which Barbara called “soft rocks.” She said this was designed to provide a space for people to do yoga in the garden. In the middle of the Peace Garden is a stone bird bath, and on either end are wooden benches. Barbara said she found it “really calming to come and sit on the benches.” This calming energy in the garden inspired Barbara to teach her meditation classes here. Barbara’s vision of the Peace Garden has become a reality. The Peace Garden remains a space of reflection, solitude and memories.