Gardening in cracks — err, narrow urban spaces


In east-side Montreal a few weeks back, I noticed a number of merchants or building owners (because these were not residential properties) were squeezing plants into the cracks between the sidewalk and building facade. I’m not sure why such narrow spaces  were “left over” unpaved, but they were put to good use.




the Hakone grass (yellow green stuff above) isn’t cheap either, about $12 per plant.

I also noticed someone — city or merchants association — planted many of the openings around sidewalk trees:





In the Le Plateau district, I was astounded to see the City put planters out on city road boulevards, islands, and on residential streets (these tripod planters were everywhere):



Larger pots marked a temporary bulb out:




I do notice, however, that Ottawa had professionals plant some gardens at the corner of Merivale and Carling (they could have had 10x as much garden if volunteers had done it, and the buy in means passersby often will do the weeding). and some of the mixed plantings along King Edward and Bronson are actually surviving and a few thriving. It’s up to community busybodies us to remind adjacent residents to weed once a month, water occasionally, or do it for them.

Once neglect sets in, too many people who couldn’t find the time to care for the plantings find lots of time to tear them out and leave the planting zone untended. I am disappointed how many people I talk to resent the idea of doing anything themselves. “You mean I’m supposed to take care of it? Outrageous! The city planted it let them do it!”

To which my standard reply is: they also paved your driveway out to the street. Do you expect them to shovel it all winter? If they put in grass, would you refuse to mow it?  [yeah yeah, i know, the evidence is all around us that the answer to all those questions is FU].

Here’s to a greener city, by which I mean plants, not advertising campaigns.


One thought on “Gardening in cracks — err, narrow urban spaces

  1. At Carling/Merivale triangle the expectation is that the community (or the community association) will tend the plots and put in annuals where required. It will be interesting to see what transpires next year, although there is a precedent for the past few years of planting all over the community by the association members. This includes in the adopted Alexander Park where planters were filled and around the park’s sign on a busy street. Abandoned spaces belonging to businesses were also greened. The association hopes to add a memorial (stone, bench, etc) in the triangle to the veterans who moved into the community after the war.

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