Sunday, July 13, 2008

Greening the Mean Streets of Worcester

I’ve been thinking about guerilla gardening lately (more on that in a future post), but decided to concentrate my efforts on our patch of June Street before engaging another area in the battle for beauty. Gotta start in your own yard, right?

This week was spent working on the two weed filled tree wells in the sidewalk. The trees the city planted five years ago have long since died and show no signs of being replaced.

Jason spent hours just getting out the trash and weeds and loosening the soil such as it was – mostly really compacted clay and rocks – basically cement. I amended the soil with peat moss and composted manure. Hopefully aeration and the organic matter improve the soil quality.

For plants I was looking for low maintenance quick growers that would take sun and complement our lime green and black color scheme.

I’m hoping the black eyed susan vine in the center (Thunbergia) will quickly cover the tomato cage and give us a vertical splash. Around its base I’ve got a couple sun loving coleus varieties – ‘Alabama’, an orangey red variety and ‘Lime Red’, which is lime green with purplish streaks. I also planted two types of Alternanthera – ‘Gold Threads’, which looks just like its name and ‘Purple Knight’, with burgundy-purple foliage.

Here’s hoping the plants grow quickly and possibly inspire a few others on the block to at least pull some weeds. And let’s hope that bored kids don’t rip them out for their entertainment.

We’ve had the occasional problem with the neighbor kids being destructive with our plants. Certainly not every kid, just two rotten ones and one other who’s easily manipulated. I’ll never get why anyone of any age will trash the place where they live. You’d think most folks would want to live some place clean and pretty. And it’s not only kids - within a week of putting out new planters in front of the shop, someone tried to steal the smallest one. Fortunately we put 100 pounds of gravel in it, so they only moved it about 4 inches. Had to be an adult who tried that.

It’s pretty sad when my little stretch of six store fronts, on the West Side, on the supposedly nice side of town, has had two break ins and one smashed window in the past year. I feel like I’m just waiting for my turn.

Anyhow, I hope to engage the kids and get them interested in plants and their neighborhood. I’m thinking we need a bucket brigade for watering! And then maybe next year it will be their garden.
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