When you plant a garden, sometimes you get more than you expect. Gardeners Paul Cardillo and Brian Hennessey had a vision inherited from area youth in the early 2000’s for a community garden at the historical Lusscroft Farm area of High Point State Park. Since installing the Medicine Wheel Garden in 2009, the community of volunteers and admirers continues to grow, drawing gardeners, farmers, educators, artists and nature lovers to celebrate this Sussex County gem each spring.
The Medicine Wheel volunteer group are hosting their fifth annual Medicine Wheel Celebration on May 18th and 19th in conjunction with the Heritage and Agriculture Association, a friends group of Lusscroft Farm. The two day event features an array of local music, gardening workshops, tours, perennial plant sale, craft and food vendors, community discussions and more to support the continued growth and preservation of the gardens and historical buildings.
Hennessey sees the gardens and celebration as “Living Art and Culture” in Northwest New Jersey. “The Medicine Wheel group has given Lusscroft Farm and New Jersey a healing and growing presence, a living example of people and nature together, which is the Sussex county motto.”
The Medicine Wheel Garden designed by Cardillo and a Compost System designed by Hennessey were installed at Lusscroft Farm in 2009. The Medicine Wheel is a circular garden sliced into twelve sections, each featuring three medicinal and deer resistant companion perennials. The gardens use permaculture or permanent agriculture, a method of farming with natural cycles and interconnection. In 2010 a crescent shape moon garden was added. It’s silvery, white and fuzzy foliage and flowers, reflect the moonlight on summer evenings. In 2012, period plantings were installed at the the historical Manor house and Managers dwelling by the Medicine Wheel group.
Saturday May 18th activities include a Garden Meditation, Dedication of the Wood Carved Owl in the Sister Moon Garden, Spirit Hoopers Performance, Garden Tours, a Plant Walk, workshops on Gardening and Mushroom Propagation.
There will be a morning Round Table Discussions on Water Quality and Community Food Protection with Sister Miriam McGillis of Genesis Farm and Dr. William Thomas of Montclair State University’s NJ School of Conservation. There will be an afternoon Open Mic with Poetry and Music hosted by the musical duo Morning Door.
Sunday May 19th there will be a panel discussion on Living Art and Culture in Northwest New Jersey featuring internationally acclaimed artist France Garrido and chainsaw sculpture Brett McLain. Sunday workshops include Soil Fertility and Sustainability with Brian Hennessey, Biology and Structure of Mushrooms with Ian Blanchard, Garlic as Medicine Roman Osadca, Organic Fruit Orchards and Propagation with Pete Tischler. Throughout the weekend there will be tours of the Medicine Wheel Gardens with designer Paul Cardillo.
An afternoon of local music features Alex Phillips, Maribyrd, Jordan Koza, Maura Glynn, the Hawk Owls, Eric Waldman, Mike Lawlor, Joe Biglin with Friends. The Matty Carle Band will finished the Sunday musical lineup.
“It is a fun and fundraising event”, says Hennessey. “Plant sales, raffles and auctions will generate money for Outlook Lodge and other Heritage and Agriculture Association projects at Lusscroft Farm.” The plant sale will offer native and deer resistant landscape, medicinal plants and herbs, heirloom and organic vegetables, fruits, berries and more.
Vendors include All Things Good, Hemp Heaven, Brink Ink, Love Yourself Jewelry, Coffee Coops, Pixie Pop the Clown, the Village Shaman, Lee’s Bees, Johnsonburg Farms, Bread Boy, Marley’s Jewelry, Eco Energy Option, Sunbird Hoops, Mother Nature’s Gifts at Serendipity, Healey's Country Crafts, Brookcroft Alternatives, Adansonia Botanicals and more.
The Friends of the Medicine Wheel work with the Heritage & Agriculture Association, a Friends group supporting Lusscroft Farms buildings, trails and year round events. Both groups work together in cooperation with the NJDEP/Division of Parks & Forestry to restore historic Lusscroft Farm.
The Medicine Wheel Gardens are located in Lusscroft Farm at 50 Neilson Road and 4-H Way, Wantage, NJ 07461. The suggested donation for the Medicine Wheel Celebration is $5 per person, kids free. For more info go to http://medicinewheelgarden.wordpress.com/ or call Brian Hennessey at 973-864-2327.