Here’s one partial solution to the what-to-do-with-the-easeway problem and a strategy for neighborhood beautification. During a short walk today it struck me how pulled-together our block looked (though most in the hood are pretty nice, landscaping-wise).
A few years back, one of the neighbors found these very durable plastic pots and bought a bunch for whomever would take one and plant it. Their initial plan was to have everyone plant canna, but many of us went in a different direction. As long as the stuff is either very tall or very bushy, it seems to work.
Full disclosure: when I took these pictures yesterday, two of the pots were either empty or looked like crap—and I think one or two got cracked over the winter. Overall, though, most still look great, as you can see, though I’m not claiming that the plant choices are particularly exciting. But they do help draw the eye from the impoverished-looking grass or groundcover that covers most of these strips.
So even if some of us aren’t on speaking terms, we do have this nice row of containers as a joint accomplishment. I think it could work for a lot of urban situations and is a good block club project.
A minor gripe about beautification:
I loved Susan’s post about Lady Bird Johnson and her legacy of public beautification, and I do realize the great benefit of having a high profile figurehead for such efforts. But often it seems that celebrities pick cause x because—well, they’re expected to for PR purposes. So let’s descend a bit from the heights of Lady Bird and her work with wildflowers, mass tulip plantings, and community gardens.
Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman has decided he wants to “improve Buffalo’s appearance,” and, as a result, over the last ten days or so we’ve been treated to a barrage of press conferences and media stories about his new neighborhood clean-up initiative, in which he has invited us all to join. It’s harmless and, if carried out, beneficial, but I’ve been trying to figure out what bugs me about it. I guess it’s this: if the guy wants to beautify he has the option of doing so with a score of currently-existing groups that also pick up trash, plant trees, and do community gardens. He could go on a few blitzes with our local guerilla gardeners. He can get out there every day and just do it. But no. There has to be fanfare, there have to be public appearances, and he has to stand on the steps of City Hall. It’s OK, it’s even nice, but still I feel this slight twinge of annoyance every time it’s mentioned.