What we do with our personal gardens, what we plant and how we maintain them, really matters. What if over 400 people of one community greatly mattered?
I illustrated when one person and her expansive gardens matter on the last post. It demonstrated how our own gardens are special as well. So special, that many put in a lot of work for others to see the gardens.
Since spring is coming early in many places, it is time to leave that arm-chair and get out into the garden. Here we still have snow and what soil is showing is water-logged. In our area, gardens need to get a jump on the season though because cities, towns and villages have private gardens opened to the public, some as early as June. So…
It is never too early for some garden chores, but when the warm weather arrives, chores can quickly become overwhelming. Unfortunately, many things will need to be raked, trimmed, pruned, dug up, and weeded that a feeling of dread can overcome. How does it all get done? Especially when getting gardens ready for public showings, the time comes quickly upon gardeners.
So why do urban gardens matter? What do you see common in all these images? What don’t you see since the photos are all about the gardens themselves?
Gardening matters for all the early bees that will visit, it matters for all the insects hatching in the yard debris. It matters for all those birds looking to nest. It matters because for all this, I rationalized a reason to ignore certain chores. Living in a city, gardening matters for these creatures. Gardening also matters for people too.
Urban gardening is a somewhat recent development in that now more lawns are disappearing and being replaced with plants, plants and more plants. Cities are making the switch from green lawns to green spaces blooming with color. Every bit of soil is planted.
In the Buffalo area, this style of gardening has had a nationwide impact. I have never been anywhere where gardens mattered to a city this much. The gardeners tell visitors that they are making Buffalo a better place.
Even though the over 400 private, opened gardens may have developed for the reason of showing them yearly in the annual Garden Walk Buffalo, each and every one of them makes for a greener city, a greater biodiversity, and a better environment. That is some of what most don’t see. Instead they feel that happening around them. It is why these gardens matter.
It is neighbors inspiring neighbors to plant small gardens in big cities everywhere, fill balconies with containers, produce food in inner cities, and come together as a community to plant vacant city lots. The movement can make the city greener through rooftop gardens, the planting and care of corner parks, maintaining sidewalk planters and protecting street trees. People mostly notice these things when a place is neglected. They don’t realize that a community is often behind the beauty they experience. It is why these over 400 gardeners matter. They show the world what can be done and why it matters to where they live. They show it can be done in other cities as well.
It grows and grows with the planting of alleyways, abandoned spaces, and even privately owned places that have long been forgotten.
Gardening matters because planting helps improve the air quality, cool the air, lower the city noise and mitigate runoff. Gardens in big cities help the way people feel about their city, wanting to care for it in ways they never expected. Each garden, private or public, helps turn cities into places people want to be. And it all starts with the garden you have and the city gardens you love to visit.
Next in my series on Gardens Matter… Public Gardens Matter. Not to get too urban planning on you or dip too deep into my professional life, I have a bit of garden history for you.