Saturday, 31 March 2012

LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO MY GARDEN


Let me introduce you to my garden. It’s easy care and forever surprising. Indeed, it needs no care at all. It decides for itself what's in it and I never lift a finger to help. I never water. I never pull out weeds - for there are no weeds to pull.

But don’t think it is perfection. By no means. The air is often dreadful. There few places in it I would want to sit. Other people sometimes interfere with the plants; one minute they are there, then suddenly, they are gone. When this happens, it can be disappointing. Worse than that, I can feel a little heart tug. But there’s always a good supply of new ones. Part of the fun is to seek them out and choose them; to note them, peer at and appreciate them. And I always, always, have a little glow of satisfaction when I visit my garden - for it is secret. Nobody visits but me. Hardly anyone even knows it exists. Until today, that is, for I’m telling you now! But there will still be an element of mystery because it covers such a large area it’s difficult to discern and its borders are fluid.  I doubt if anyone who reads this blog would be able to find a single plant in it.

So - let me introduce you to my garden, my garden of the streets - and a little of what it’s like in March

Here are a couple of lawns.

A small clump of wild grass growing at the edge of stone steps to building.
March 29th 2012

I have no idea how many people pass this little lawn during the course of the day but it's set in the side of steps up to a commercial building.

Tiny tuft of grass in earth caught in drainage grid in road gutter by yellow line.
February 29th 2012
(I know that's not March -
but it's only one day out. It didn't change much overnight!)

And here is another. Durable. Hard wearing. No mowing needed. Tolerates drought, flood, full sunshine and shade.

It’s a good time for flowers. There have been some in the winter months; I have sought them out and I’ll return to them. But they've grown old and dusty and I expect you’d like to see new-leafed, freshly opened ones just now.

Dandelions growing by fencing which protects the forecourt of derelict pub.
March 30th 2012
The dandelion at the front of the picture is clear to see - but it's not alone.  There's one with two flowers beyond. Can you see that one? And there are many in the wider fore-court behind me. It belongs to a pub which was closed a few years ago after the river next to it flooded the cellars.  It's deteriorated much since then.

Ivy Leafed Toadflax growing in wall beside car park.
March 30th 2012
Ivy-leafed Toad Flax. In the wall of a large car-park. 

Dandelions really are beginning to assert themselves. Although my garden is a street one (a garden of urban wild plants) if people leave their own gardens untended, I reckon the plants which grow there can be included in mine too. These are 'shared' plants.

Dandelion flower at the street edge of an untended garden.
March 28th 2012


Like this dandelion.

I have a selection of rockeries. In some, the plants are very small.

Tiny White Flowers grow in the gaps between cobbles on a speed bump.
March 28th 2012

These ones (above) have to be small or lorries would squash them. They are between the cobbles in the speed bump below. A dustcart had driven over it in both directions a moment before taking this picture.

Speed bump. There are lots of tiny plants between the cobbles.
March 28th 2012

The orange sticks are cigarette buts. That will help with scale.

Given that I have not seen anyone else crawling about on pavements, on the steps to public buildings or in the middles of roads, I suspect looking for these plants and admiring them is a minority interest. And I doubt our streets would be as safe as they are if lots of people took it up. But until I started to look out for urban wild plants, I hadn't realised how many there are to miss!

Tiny succulent plant grows through crack in stone step.
March 29th 2012

There are succulents too. These little ones will grow into a clump over the crack at the side of the step.

Buddleia growing by brick wall.
March 28th 2012


Bushes cut down last year are reasserting themselves.

This buddleia will grow substantially throughout the summer and will probably flower.

March 30th 2012
This is the bud to watch. Below is the place where it is.






Buds on the trees are beginning to bulk and green.

View between road bridge and footbridge, showing railway below.
March 30th 2012

So, there you have it - a garden with lawns and flowering borders; rockeries, bushes and trees. All are free and free living. People walk through this garden every day. Maybe they notice some of its elements. Maybe they don't. Maybe they chose special plants themselves, perhaps without even realising it. I think this is most likely to happen with trees. Even those with only a subliminal awareness of the urban wild will mark the difference between winter and summer, no-leaves then, suddenly, leaves - a time of sweaty offices and ice-creams at weekends.

Do you have an urban garden?
__________
                                                                  
Tree Following Symbol
I'm Following a Tree
Are You?

A Growing List!
Tree Following Symbol
I'm Following a Tree
Are You? 
___
If you have posted recently
about the life of a particular tree
 you are 'following',
let me know 
and I'll put a link here.
* * *
On the Edge Gardening
Tree Watch
Lichfield Lore
Tree Routes


                      

                    
                                    

18 comments:

Becky said...

I don't have an urban garden. Mine is quite the opposite. Still it's amazing how many plants we have in common. I enjoyed the tour of your secret garden. I hope you will take me back there again. Seeing it through your eyes is delightful!

Mark Willis said...

I love your(our)garden! There's a lot there to see if you look carefully. Why are so many wild flowers treated as weeds to be eradicated???

Helen said...

That was a fun walk. I particularly like your rockery.

Down by the sea said...

I love your garden and how you make me look more closely around me. We went for a walk at Langdon Woods near Golden Cap this morning and I saw some fungi, which I took a photo of, previously I would have just noticed it and walked by.
Sarah x

Donna said...

Lucy a very enlightening walk around an urban garden...one many would take for granted...mine is a suburban almost rural garden, but many plants can be missed in it as well...love to see more of your garden as the seasons evolve...

Flighty said...

Thanks for a most enjoyable tour!
It really is surprising what can be seen in such places if we take the time to look. Flighty xx

Toffeeapple said...

Marvellous, I love the way you notice the unseen or insignificant. The Toadflax is so pretty.

Bridget said...

Interesting look at plants we mostly ignore. Amazing where they can find a home for themselves.

Rosie Leavesnbloom said...

I'm always amazed at where plants can be found growing in town. I really like your first mossy lawn - I love photographing moss.

Lucy could you tell me a bit more about 'following a tree' as I have one that I have been nuturing as a sappling for a few years and even blogged about it when I first planted it - now it's nearly 6 feet. What type of thing do we need to post about?

elaine rickett said...

I love the way these 'strays' carry on regardless of us humans. There is certainly plenty to see if you look hard enough.

Kristi said...

Such a good way to think of the street. PHL is fairly lush this time of year. Lots of street gardeners, sprucing up window boxes containers and parklets.

Elephant's Eye said...

Good grief Lucy! Be careful? You must have drawn a few curious onlookers. What IS she looking at?! And how I share your delight in the details we only see if look, very carefully.

wellywoman said...

Just found your blog and loved reading about your urban garden. Plants always amaze me where they appear, pushing up through concrete, on derelict scrubby ground, in the gaps of walls. You've given me the idea to go around my local village and see what I can see growing in inhospitable places. Great post.

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

Ah yes isn't the ordinary so interesting.

Forest Keepers said...

I love how nature just has a way of creeping back into everything! I must say that Dandelions are one of my all time favorite plants. I put them in my salads and smoothies all the time. Did you know that Dandelions have a natural occurring insulin in them that is actually helpful in controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics? Ahh, just one of the MANY AMAZING secrets of the Dandelion. And so I hate to see folks so vehemently chasing them out of their lawns with all manner of poisons and chemicals!
If only they knew what a miracle this plant is ( and all of them for that matter).

Lucy said...

Hello Becky. There's an element of overlap between wild plants in the towns and in the countryside. While I much prefer to walk in the countryside, finding some of the very tiny plants in towns can be very exciting. The white flowers in the speed bump are now producing seeds. They are like miniature honesty seeds and I can only see them properly by taking their pictures and enlarging them on screen. It's like being a detective!

Hello Mark. I can see why people like to get rid of buddleia. It can make walls dangerous. And I suppose plants which come up between paving stones can dislodge them after a while. But, given the damage done by car fumes which are, broadly, tolerated, I think there's an over-zealous tidiness when it comes to some urban wild plants - and significant prejudice too.

Hello Helen - I could easily do a whole post about 'my rockery'. There masses of plants between the cobbles - and in surprising variety. It's a little frustrating. I think it's important to write town posts from time to time, likewise seashore ones, but Loose and Leafy is a hedgerow blog and I try not to wander too far from topic too often. (I could have a fleet of blogs given the amount of subject matter!)

Hello Down by the Sea. I'm so pleased to have had a creative impact on the way you see things around you. Mind, there could hardly be a greater inspiration than being in woods by Golden Cap. Hard to see anything more could be needed!

Hi, Donna. Sometimes I am amused when really good gardeners take on 'wild plants' in their real gardens when, only a few years ago, I suspect they would have been thought of as weeds and 'got rid of'!

Everyone - I'm off elsewhere so will reply to all your other (very welcome and much valued) comments later.

Lucy

Mark and Gaz said...

Nature can create some interesting mini gardens! We spotted a grape hyacynth pushing out of a tarmac path yesterday, we just had to photo it - http://www.alternativeeden365.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/9-april.html

marco jacinto said...

i have an entire city (Lisbon) of crevices to look avidly for anything i hadn't seen around before, it's a kind of an hobbie. afterall city's function as an anthropogenus rupicolous habitat.

nice post