Behold Sidewalk Gardens in Mantua

October 28, 2015

Oh, the wonders that abound in pavement cracks. Check out the emergent life in a single vacant asphalt lot in Mantua. Fuzzy grasses blow in the wind. Bumblebees pollinate two native species of aster. The showy periwinkle of common chicory blazes boldly. This roadside weed is a close relative of curly endive. Cultivated chicory is also known as Belgian endive and radicchio. Chicory root is a great source of fiber. All this from a pretty botanical immigrant from Europe!

 

Crack gardens opportunistically create wondrous patterns in an otherwise barren landscape. Left alone for a few years, crack gardens become patch gardens. They capitalize on freezing and thawing to expand their footprints. Flakes of concrete rich in calcium, serve as nutritious plant food… Before long, a former parking lot has re-ordered itself as a young urban meadow, teeming with diverse life, color, scent, texture, and motion… no human assistance required. 

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