Garden offers sanctuary to students
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 00:11
University of Southern Mississippi psychology graduate Tyler Meador left the university better than he found it by playing an integral role in helping the Southern Miss medicine wheel garden thrive.
The medicine garden is a place where students can go for healing and reflection, and it can easily be described as one of the university’s best-kept secrets.
The garden, located between the International Center and Liberal Arts Building, thrives with mint leaves, tea leaves, tobacco, organic plants and more for all to utilize. Some of the most sacred aspects of the medicine wheel garden are the prayer ribbons.
“Every ribbon you see in that medicine garden is for a person who is being prayed for,” Meador said. “Anyone can go out there and tie a ribbon on a plant in honor of someone who needs a prayer.”
Everything in the medicine wheel garden is grown naturally, and the absence of pesticides is what makes the garden completely organic. Cardboard and pure soil keep the garden alive. The entire garden is indigenous, which makes it easy to keep the plants flourishing throughout the year.
The garden is divided into four quadrants, each representing the colors red, white, yellow and purple. People who adopt its sections nurse the garden and arrange the plants and objects in ways that are meaningful to them.
“I have worked with the organization for quite a few years now, and I can tell you the medicine garden has made great strides,” Meador said. “I even had the pleasure to plant some of the plants with Rosalie Steve, who was one of the last medicine women for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.”
One of Steve’s last pieces of advice to Meador is that people need to keep the tradition of the garden alive. She talked about how important it is to appreciate earth’s natural gifts, because today’s luxuries, such as electricity, could be gone tomorrow.
The most recent news about the medicine wheel garden is that it will be handicap accessible soon. Meador is legally blind, and he also serves on the ADA board.
Meador and associate psychology professor Tammy Greer, another medicine wheel garden pioneer, got the ball rolling on making the garden a place that every student can enjoy.