Urban Gardenspiration

Urban Garden

We’ve hit midsummer, a time in my area when the garden tends to go downhill. While there is much bounty to be had, many plants begin to suffer in the heat. Or it is just their time to go. Or we’re just too darn tired/hot/fed up/over it to keep up with garden chores.

Sometimes we need some perspective, a reminder to just let it be. Your garden is good as it is. A garden doesn’t have to be fancy or perfectly quaffed to provide pleasure, food, pretty things to look at, or respite.

Urban Garden
I’m always impressed by the quantity of herbs that are growing on the edge of this small garden. This is a different side of the same garden as the one show above.

Take these atypical gardens I spotted from the street while walking around my urban Toronto neighbourhood recently. Some of these aren’t even gardens in the proper sense and yet I was taken with each of them, certainly enough to get out my camera and take a photo.

If only I could withhold judgment so freely when looking at my own garden.

Urban Garden Balcony Garden urban garden

They grow an army of marigold pots every year. And check out the fig trees on the balcony above.

Savoury, Savory

A self-sown crop of summer savoury (Satureja hortensis)that thrives in the crack in the tarmac.

Urban Garden

How they are managing to keep such a healthy corn crop with the number of squirrels and raccoons in this neighbourhood is beyond me. Maybe they’re all congregating in my yard?


These zinnias self sow each year in the cracks in a parking lot and yet they never seem to suffer the terrible powdery mildew that plagues most carefully cultivated zinnia crops. Resilience. Determination.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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9 thoughts on “Urban Gardenspiration

  1. Love these photographs – and your perspective on the gardens within them. So true! It’s easy to be disappointed with plans that didn’t work out as hoped this time in the season. At your urging I will be pleased with my blindingly orange tithonia, and not so sad that the blue-blooming backdrop I’d planned for them seems to have withered away;)

  2. I definitely needed the reminder! Strange growing season in SC this year, I am happy just to be able to try…

    Take Care! KB

  3. You are absolutely right! My problem is I think everything has to be perfect. This is frustrating because by this time of summer my garden is definitely overgrown. Thanks for posting the pictures and showing me how beautiful gardens can be regardless of care.

  4. That garden pretty much looks like an artificial overgrowth but it does show how much care is put into it, especially when you consider that it’s already midsummer. It’s a nice perspective that you don’t need your garden to be really beautiful. Just keep it alive and put some heart into it and all should go well.

  5. I absolutely love these defiant little plants, growing up out of the cracks on the pavement! These pictures are very uplifting.

  6. It is indeed very difficult to look at one’s own garden and not see all the faults, and yet, as you mention, see someone else’s garden with half as much going on and twice the “unruliness” and think, “ain’t that purty.” Maybe one day….

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