The neighbor shovels around the fire hydrant whenever it snows, exposing the soil to the cold. I have wondered if that would blight the ground around it, but there are five different kinds of wildflower, quite healthy, circling it.
Next to the fire hydrant is this black locust. As trees will do, this get's bigger and bigger every year, soaking up more and more of the sun that would otherwise fall on my fruit trees. The spikes on these things are not for consumption. Nor is the city very friendly about cutting down boulevard trees, not even the one's with teeth. This one will eventually shade out the entire front garden.
My neighbor's most excellent patch of creeping charlie, perhaps the most reviled of all lawn invaders. They did everything right, organic sod, organic treatments, and still...like a woman I talked to recently about thistles in her lawn, I tried to explain that you can't have mono-cultural sheets of grass without poisons, that these pioneer species are just the soil healing itself. Lawn grass is a wasteland. All she wanted to talk about was how someone had given her the thistle poison for free.
I have grass, in places, and I don't use poisons, but I don't have weed problems either, because I only cut the grass about 2-3 times a year, and the soil is otherwise healthy. The increased biodiversity and wild character, also holds much more water, so my grass doesn't dry out like most sheets of sod, late summer, weakening it and providing an opportunity for weeds like creeping charlie and thistles.
The view from the corner. This is a patch of black cap raspberries. It is the healthiest patch I have ever seen anywhere in the Midwest. These are like the raspberry canes I saw growing in Oregon, which were more purple than red, and as thick as a silver dollar is round. A guy told me if you left much of that region of Oregon to nature, in twenty years you would need to chop your way through to get anywhere. I don't know about those, but the berries of these make a most excellent homebrew, and jelly.
It is early yet in the season. I will endeavor to post regular updates, that you might see this garden evolve. There are around 200 species of plants growing on this 1/8 acre, more than half of that more or less taking care of itself. It is an evolving micro-ecosystem, that I interfere with minimally, a refuge for birds and bugs (and me and my love.) It smells now of blooming fruit flowers, while so much of the rest of the city stinks like hydrocarbons and chemicals. Imagine if the whole city were landscaped something like this? It would be a great deal healthier and more resilient.
But this does not feed GDP. It does not feed the war machine. It does not feed the corporations that make the poisons that people spread with such blind alacrity. Why are there so many young children with cancer, why are so many women suffering from cancer in their reproductive systems, why are so many children born with some form of autism? And all we can think to do is throw more poisons at the problem? While no shortage of my sod and poison loving neighbors, hate this garden viscerally.
Many others love what I am doing here. I plan to do a lot more. I will keep you posted.
* The soup, I plan to rif off one nettle soup proposed by my friend Jason Heppenstall. I also highly recommend his book. He and I (and many others) are on a very similar path of healing.