Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The art of public planting

Now is the late summer of our discontent as far as public and community gardens go. It’s hard enough to keep a private garden going in a dry hot season, but in public spaces, where watering is even more labor-intensive and there are larger spaces to tend, keeping a lush look takes real dedication.

We took a walk to the Albright-Knox to see the Extreme Abstraction show Sunday, and I admired many public plantings that were holding up under difficult conditions. The landscaping at Soldiers Circle and Bidwell looked very good, though I only snapped Bidwell (needed batteries).

Most of the big planters on Elmwood looked great, like this:

But a couple were just a waste. What would it take to keep this one up?

Of course, on Elmwood, they have kept up their hanging baskets.

And I’m really PISSED OFF that those in power in Allentown chose not to hang baskets this year, though there are some great planters.

My favorite on the walk, though, was this mysterious little structure in a corner lot. Couldn’t tell who owned it.

I remain convinced that public plantings are worth every bit of trouble that goes into them and, yes, every bit of money. It is one of the best ways to make a neighborhood look inviting and well-cared-for. I’ve adopted a couple planters on Main and Allen, though they’re in a difficult spot. Many mornings I’ve had to politely ask hangers-about to stop sitting on them as I drive by. Who sits on plants?!!!


Bill said...

I've wondered about that structure for years. Whenever I see it, I think about how much I'd have enjoyed playing with it when I was a kid. It is in a funny spot: I don't always notice it when I go by, but it is kind of magical.

Celia said...

I'm pretty sure the planters on Allen Street were done not by AA or any other org of power, but by Nietzsche's bartenders and neighbors, such as Susan Peters.

EAL said...

Well, actually AA board members did do the ones at Delaware and Allen, one of which I photographed. I do the ones at Main and Allen. The others are all kept up by the adjacent businesses.

But all the concrete planters on Allen were paid for with AA dollars, except for the one in front of the Towne. I'm not speaking about the wooden planters.

I am mad about the baskets though--AA should have done those. You need an "organization of power" for those because watering must be contracted out.

Anonymous said...

Thank god someone takes the time to care. Let us not forget it's the thought that counts.