On the Theme of Art in Nature and the City
Driving through some of the more challenged parts of my community I observed the grass thriving in some of the blocks where abandoned homes had been taken down. How nice the grass looked as opposed to the decrepit burned out buildings! But then I wondered how much the city spends on mowing grass on these lots and how the grass we plant can be high maintenance.
I wondered, why doesn’t the city consider alternative cover vegetation that doesn’t take as much TLC? One that may offer a secondary benefit as well. Such as sweet clover.
Bees love it. It doesn’t grow too high. It is hardy and adaptable. And, who knows, you may find a lucky four-leaf clover amongst the vegetation. (Or plant the variety that is four-leafed.)
Or the city could try a field of sunflowers?
I’d use a dwarf variety so they are not as susceptible to wind and don’t create a visual impediment to traffic. Sunflowers are very comfortable in dry conditions as well as pretty crummy soil (think of Kansas—no offense, Kansas. Just sayin’).
Sunflowers are great for birds—or people—who feast on the seeds. And, there is no denying that a field of sunflowers is glorious.
Or a lovely ground cover like thyme or oregano.
Super-easy to plant, these both spread on their own and serve the same purpose as grass to eliminate a dirt plot in the city. Even if you don’t harvest the herb, it provides a great scent if you walk through it or pluck it.
A little variety in the cover crop on vacant lots would get us away from the high maintenance of grass and theoretically be an edible alternative, too. Plus the beautiful artistry in the diversity of plant life, the delicious exotic fragrances from herbs, or the stunning complexity (and mathematical precision) of flowers such as sunflowers, are in themselves significant reasons to consider more diversity to the plantings in the city lots. I’m not suggesting it’s as easy as suggesting an idea and an idea can be implemented. There are a million reasons to continue the status quo. But, i was just wondering about “what ifs…” when I saw the vacant lots now filled with grass.