Jessica Bullen Orchard & Quiet Garden

For her passion, dedication, and love for her community.

2015: Most trees produced well this year! The Russian Quince was diseased, so we replaced it with another. We were growing clover around the trees to fix nitrogen in the soil, but weeding proved to be too labor intensive so we are now using wood-chip mulch.

2014: The tree bark on the Lapin cherry peeled off late last summer and wasn't going to make it, so it was replaced with a Liberty apple.

2013: Jessica's grandmother Elsie Bullen passed away in June, 2013. She asked that family and friends donate to Jess' orchard. We appreciate their support and Elsie's initiative to help us keep the memory of Jess alive.

The late Jessica Bullen, former treasurer of Quann Community Garden, was a biking, gardening and community activist in Madison, Wisconsin. She had recently finished her graduate work in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UW-Madison, and received the Outstanding Student of the Year award. Tragically, she died from injuries sustained while biking when she was struck by an inattentive driver in mid-2005. She was 29 years old.

Jess liked quiet, beautiful, and peaceful urban spaces where you could go to contemplate life. The Jessica Bullen Orchard & Quiet Garden was created to remember her, and is located across the gravel road from Quann Community Garden, 204 Bram Street in Madison. Come and explore this south-side jewel: a small urban organic orchard that encourages people to gather and linger. Some tidbits:

  • The boulder contains a quote from one of Jess's favorite books Love in the Time of Cholera.

  • The council ring is a symbol of equality (the well-known landscape architect Jens Jensen "popularized" council rings in Madison; he also built one as a memorial [for his grandson]).

  • The turtle is present because Jess loved turtles and had a large turtle collection.

  • The trees are: Mt. Royal Plum, Toka Plum, Contender Peach, Russian Quince, Montmorency Cherry, Liberty Apple, Black Gold Cherry, Stella Cherry (2 of these).

This space was originally a vacant lot. In 2006, there were two design charrettes led by Sam Dennis, professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at UW-Madison. In 2007, the City of Madison put in a sidewalk on the property to enhance safety for pedestrians, we received a neighborhood grant from the city of Madison for $9,850 for the council ring and rain garden, and the council ring was built. Several workdays were held in spring, 2008, and the site was dedicated on May 24.

To volunteer to help maintain this space (training provided, no need to be a member of Quann Community Garden), contact Jim Winkle.

Jess was an avid and experienced bicyclist. At the garden and at executive committee meetings, she was rarely seen without her bike and helmet close by. In participation with the People for Parks program, Quann Community Garden purchased and installed a bike rack at the garden in 2006 to serve the needs of those who bike to the garden.

Thanks so much to everyone who donated money or time to the orchard project; without you, it wouldn't have happened! It was truly an honor for us to work on this project.

Committee members:

  • Jim Winkle, chair

  • Cheryl DeWelt Robinson

  • Michael Fay

  • Bryan Fay

  • Pamela Hathaway

  • Kathryn Pereira

  • Barbara Feeney

A few links to articles online:

Jess giving a tour of Quann Community Garden

Jess giving a tour of Quann Community Garden

Jessica Bullen Orchard & Quiet Garden

Video montage of construction and dedication of the orchard