This summer, the student group WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan University) is celebrating the maturity of flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees seeded and planted more than five years ago.
In 2010, the university offered WILD Wes the West College Courtyard, a .75 acre parcel of sloping, sandy land. After two years of prepping the soil for a permaculture site, students planted their first trees, rye, buckwheat and a perennial rain garden at the site.
A swallowtail sips nectar from a bee balm patch in the West College Courtyard. Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the perennial, which grows in abundance at the garden.
The garden mimics the biodiversity, complexity and resilience of natural ecosystems with plants that are beneficial to humans and wildlife. Organisms support and protect one another.
Blackberries, blueberries and multiple fruit trees offer edible treats throughout the summer for humans and wildlife.
The new WILD Wes Saloon offers students a comfortable, shaded seating area under a persimmon tree.
A bee gathers nectar from a bee balm flower at the garden site.
Paths lead garden-goers to a large composting area. WILD Wes welcomes all community members interested in assisting with the garden’s upkeep.
The project is supported by the Wesleyan Green Fund, the College of the Environment, Physical Plant, the SAGES-Green Building Subcommittee, the Sustainability Office and other partners. (Photos by Olivia Drake)