Check out this wild front garden I came upon yesterday afternoon. On just a glance I can identify a couple of poppy varieties, calendula, bachelors buttons (aka cornflower), cosmos, and a host of attractive weeds.
I just can’t see myself dedicating the space to a wild garden of flowers, preferring to fill up that sunny front yard with vegetables, yet I very much appreciate the idea of it. I passed a lot of gorgeous gardens on this street, but this is the only one that stopped me in my tracks and begged for pictures. The irony being that this is probably the most hands off garden on the block, requiring a bit of deadheading now and again if you want to keep the blooms going throughout the summer but very little else. Any one of these plants individually might require some staking to keep those long, thin stems growing upward but as a dense mass the whole thing was held together around the edges by some sticks and string, the plants doing the work of holding each other up.
Flowers like this grow very easily, attracting lots of pollinators and continually producing blooms perfect for vases. I have developed a recent affinity for simple vases full of bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus). And with so many of each type of flower you’re not left hovering over the garden waiting to pounce on that single bud before a greedy passerby gets it.
Yeah, in hindsight a garden like this may have been a less traumatic choice for the street garden.
Most of my peas are finished and have been replaced by beans but the Blue Podded Shelling Pea is still producing over at my community garden. I harvested a handful just yesterday. This beautiful purple pea with frilly pink flowers is one of a handful of unusual pea types that I can’t resist growing every year. I can’t say I love the flavour of this variety, but then again I tend to harvest the peas when they are small and eat them steamed rather than leaving them longer to produce real peas as is the norm. When cooking, the blue/purple colour actually bleeds off like a dye. I steamed a handful on top of rice once and the rice was dyed purple.
Another photo from my community garden.
Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris) growing out of the gravel on abandoned railroad tracks.
I came upon this shopping cart planter the other day while riding my bike along College Street here in Toronto. The planter sits outside a restaurant located at the corner of College and Clinton, perched up high atop a metal outdoor patio fence.
There is a tiny anal-retentive person living inside my brain that REALLY, REALLY longs to remove that dead strawberry leaf. Fighting. Urge.
What I love about it is that it is such an affront to the typical planter box. I’m a firm believer that anything that can hold soil can function as a container. And if it can’t hold soil, with a little innovation it can most likely be made to. In this case the designer simply used the basket of the cart like a wire hanging basket, lining it with burlap to allow drainage but also keep soil in. The planter is deep enough to house some pretty deep roots so really the only challenge comes in keeping the soil consistently moist. We’ve had a very forgiving wet and cool season so far which is why those violas are holding up so well into the month of July. In addition to the violas they’ve included some other edibles including strawberries, mint, Vietnamese coriander aka ‘Rau Ram’, nasturtium, rosemary and thyme.
The planter is great, but I’m most in love with their sign… I just can’t figure out the logistics involved in urinating in a planter box that high up. Given what I have experienced with my own public garden I can believe that anything is possible and that some people will go to acrobatic feats to make the impossible possible. But still… how do they do it? And what’s more bewildering, why?
Calendula had been self-seeding itself in my community garden plot in abundance, until last year when I put in a lot of soil amenders. I think the seeds got buried too deeply underneath all that extra compost. No matter, some are still coming up and in manageable quantities. The borage continue to self-seed with no noticeable change in population.
The flowers in this picture are not from my community garden. Those flowers are yellow, and try as I might I can’t get a bright orange variety to come up. No matter, this year I started some unusual varieties from seed and transplanted them into the garden. I’ll post pictures when they start to bloom.