Sunday, 24 June 2012

#284: A Walk on the Mild Side

For the past few days, while temperatures have been out of control in southern Ontario, I have been going for an early morning walk right in my own neighbourhood.  At 8:30 (that’s early for me), people are leaving for work, kids are going to school but I am free to explore streets I don’t usually see up close at this time of day.  I love it. 

There are no snakes lying in wait (unlike the Bruce Trail) but there is lots of other wildlife.  It’s a zoo out there:  chipmunks, baby bunnies, squirrels, and whole families of cardinals abound.  I have no blue jays at my feeder, but here they are chattering in my neighbour's spruce tree.  I want to give them directions to my yard.

What I most enjoy, however, are my neighbours’ front yards.  Here in Guelph organic gardening rules, and lawns are regularly replaced with assorted hardy ground covers and larger perennials.  No wonder urban creatures are so plentiful. The guerrilla gardeners have colonized the boulevards, too, with various grasses, coneflowers and lilies although this space technically belongs to the City.  So I shouldn’t have been surprised this last week to discover a new trend: boulevard vegetable gardens.  Several tidy plots of carrots, peas, corn and zucchini are flourishing between the sidewalk and the road.

And now I am having the most un-neighbourly thoughts: this will be free food in a couple of months.  Will the rabbits get there first, or in August, will this public display of ripe produce encourage public harvesting?  Will homeward-bound pedestrians passing a boulevard herb garden help themselves to a few sprigs of basil to go along with the carrots and lettuce that they filched from the garden down the street? Or will the lettuce police, retirees all, be watching from their verandahs, ready to chase the culprits with a garden rake? 

Then again, perhaps the gardeners won't care.   What’s a salad between neighbours? 

 I can hardly wait to see how this drama unfolds. 

1 comment:

  1. I do hope you keep us updated about the boulevard gardens. I also hope that the wildlife gets its share before the marauding humans are homeward bound.