When I started digging what would eventually become the street garden I had no idea that it would evolve into a social and scientific experiment. People often ask me if I grow food in this garden. The following twelve points should clear that question up. Hell, number two will do the job all on its own.
1. The Soil Hasn’t Been Tested: And seriously, anything could be in there. Never mind the chemicals that can’t be seen with the eye, you wouldn’t believe some of the “artifacts” unearthed over the years through planting and general maintenance. Anything could have happened in that space within the last 100 years. Anything.
2. Gifts From Neighbourhood Dogs, Both Large and Small: Their special poo packages come in appropriate sizes. Delightful discoveries revealed with the first thaw. Dog people of the world, when your puppy is sick, magical faeries do not remove the evidence with a wave of their magic wand… suckers like me do.
- I am sorry you had to see that. Believe me, I chose the least offensive of the bunch.
3. The Urinators: Late night partyers or mid-afternoon dudes too lazy to walk a few feet to the local coffee shop. The surprise in turning the corner and catching a glimpse of some strange dude having a private moment over my plants is bad enough… now imagine that those plants are what’s for dinner.
4. The Tramplers: Aka drunk dudes who fall butt first into my gorgeous blooming iris bed crushing said iris bed and impeding their ability to bloom for an entire year. Who’s not bitter?
5. It’s Not Called the Street Garden for Nothing: Car and truck exhaust continuously showering the plants and soil in a chemical cloud of ass stench.
6. The Smokers: There is a constant assembly of stressed-out civil defence attorneys and their clients satisfying their cravings curbside from 9-5 daily. This same group also serves as my personal audience, peering over puffs of smoke at my ass crack as I bend over to pluck a weed or deadhead a spent bloom. It’s like I’m famous! Who doesn’t love an audience? This same group often throw their butts into the garden where a team of little elves are perched on standby ready to scoop the butts and swiftly deliver them to a nearby garbage receptacle.
- A pill bottle and a cigarette butt together! At once! Just as nature intended.
7. Scary Trash: From collections of used needles (Despite the drop-off box located directly across the street. At least this spring’s collection had caps!), to not-yet-empty prescription bottles, half-full cans of tall beer, and used glow-in-the-dark condoms. The possible seepage off of these items alone is terrifying. Or that time someone dumped an entire bag of used kitty litter (poo and all) into the garden. Yeah, THAT’S where it goes.
8. The Potting Soil and Dead Houseplant Dumpers: I can’t begin to explain this one but people regularly dump large pots of used potting soil and dead or half-dead tropicals into the garden. There must be some kind of “back to its source” logic in action here.
9. Building Waste/Street Cleaners/Salt: More products of the street-side location. There was also that time early one Sunday am when some idiot smashed their car into the building leaving a front bumper and assorted car parts behind.
10. Stashed Possessions and/or Gifted Items: Pairs of jeans, purses, underwear, full makeup sets, gym bags… you name it. People see a garden and naturally conclude “personal outdoor locker.” Or there are the numerous lawn ornaments, plastic windmills, planters and assorted ephemera that have been anonymously “gifted” to the garden only to disappear sometime later. At least this stuff amuses me. Check out today’s offering…
- I’m definitely NOT going to eat that. But I guarantee you someone did. I should take a look.
11. The BIA (Business Improvement Association) Might Make Me Remove the Garden: So they can put in a garden. This really happened! No bitterness here. Nope. None. Jerks.
12. Some Dumbass Would Reach to Take a Tomato and Rip Out the Entire Plant: Just like that time someone reached for a sunflower, peony, iris, rose, [insert plant name here]. Which I would then find in pieces scattered down the block or stuck into the BIA planter boxes in a half-earnest attempt to will it back to life.