celebrating the edge of cultivation


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I can't lay claim to this garden,

other than to capture it in pictures. I didn't plant the seeds, which look like the makings of a standard 'wildflower meadow' mix, and it wasn't me who brought water out all those times to keep it going. But I love this excellant example of people taking over neglected space.


Here is one of the most traveled streets in the city, but because of the incline, cars are either speeding to get up the hill or flying down it. Plus, the downhill ride offers one of the most amazing urban panoramas in the country, weather permitting, so I wonder how many people have whizzed by this gem of guerilla gardening.

I've seen the city try their ham fisted hand at this spot. I remember phormiums and water trucks, but this works much better, and from a driver's standpoint, way better than the jungles growing in the Masonic median that obscure oncoming speedy traffic rushing to beat the light at the Panhandle.

It's about context and scale. On a wanna be freeway you want something beautiful but not so grand that the necessary maintenance interferes with the flow of traffic.

Each of the well-spaced cut-outs is small enough that a single bucket of water is enough to keep them going, and the ones near the top

of the street look like they're planted with the same mix, so there's your theme. As I (try not to) roar up the hill these little pocket gardens give me pulses of beauty. The informality of each square reminds me that people tended this, by hand. Someone commits the crime of serial jaywalking, just for the sake of gardening, to have something they can take pride in and say to themselves "I made this".

And by sharing it, they're offering joy to every harried commuter. All we have to do is slow down and make ourselves available.