CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cultural Garden Federation approved plans for a new Ethiopian cultural garden to take root along Martin Luther King Dr., the first of the gardens to pay tribute to an African nation.
The design features a wall with designs by an Ethiopian artist and a replica of a stele, a structure used as a memorial in ancient Ethiopia. The garden’s goal is to pay tribute to Ethiopia as a birthplace of civilization, said Scott Embacher, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Cultural Garden Committee.
The garden also will include a replica of a rock-hewn Lalibelan church door. The 11 churches in Lailibela mark the pilgrimage site for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Both the stele and the doorway will be sandstone, according to designs.
The Menelik Hall Foundation, an Ethiopian history and culture educational group, also worked on getting the garden established. The process began two years ago, and organizers were vying for one of two plots left in the cultural gardens, where there are more than 30 members.
Now the group has to raise money for the garden. The approximate cost will be $250,000 and construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2017, Embacher said.
The gardens also include a African-American cultural garden, which completed its first phase in June of last year.
Embacher said the gardens skew Euro-centric, and that the Ethiopian cultural garden is the first tribute of its kind. It will appeal to Ethiopian communities across the country as well as Cleveland’s active Ethiopian community, he added.
The garden will be located south of the Irish cultural gardens, before the Chinese cultural gardens.
Plants planned to be included in the garden are catnip, seven sons tree, prickly pear cactus, Japanese Blood Grass, Tupelo Tower Block Gum and Montauk Daisy.
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