Last year, I got tired of looking at the two empty tree boxes out in front of our property, and decided to start gardening them. This was considered to be pure folly by most of my cohousing neighbors, but if I wanted to work on them, why not? I dug up both spots, sifted out buckets of rocks and debris, adding in buckets of compost, and then moved in a few plants. I planted them mostly with plants I scavenged from other areas, so that if the whole project failed, I would have only lost my investment of time, not money.
I thought I understood the risks when I planted them – hot, sunny, dry spaces; dog pooping, human tramping, car door openings and litter. What I didn’t foresee was violence committed on the plants – whether by dogs, squirrels or humans, I don’t know, but it happens every so often. Yesterday I went out to tend to these spaces and found the Bearded Iris leaves scattered all over the sidewalk, with one of the larger cosmos plants tramped down next to them.
It’s ironic, because I planted these irises specifically to try to discourage people from trampling through the space. Their sword-like leaves look sharp and pointy, and passersby are much less likely to walk into a bed edged with these plants than one that has soft mounds of flowers. Looks like someone decided to do battle with the swords today!
Such are the challenges of gardening in urban spaces.