Saturday, October 16, 2010

Earth room

I took my first trip to New York last month. Although it has the tallest buildings I've ever set eyes on, it also has lots of pockets and snaking ribbons of green. From the great breathing spaces of central park and the botanic garden out in the Bronx through to the sympathetically planted overhead railway, offering a nature walk along the highline with views to match.

Perhaps more unexpected were the garden plots we chanced across when exploring Manhattan. La Guardia Corner Gardens is one such instance, located between Bleecker and Houston. The plot was developed by neighbourhood gardeners in 1981 on a piece of city property which was just barren land. It is a beautiful if unexpected intervention into the cityscape. Peering through the chainlink fence we watched sparrows hopping between plants while monarch butterflies and huge black bees took advantage of the buddlia bush.

Sadly, as with all city space there, land is money which makes this green space far from secure. NYU have plans to develop ‘superblock’ accommodation towers which would shade out the garden effectively killing it. A campaign has been launched to protect it but you have to wonder if planners will value the importance of this backyard wildlife habitat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Late sun

I was almost tricked into thinking that it was high summer today even though the evidence was against it. The sun has now sunk down in the sky casting a warm filtered light. Bees are outnumbered by yellow jackets busing themselves with investigations of each freshly dug heap of soil in a slow zig-zag meandering flight. Enjoying the unseasonably warm day I edged and weeded the beds - pulling out long stolens of the subterranian roots of couch grass as it wound its way through the beetroot and chard. Though growth is slowing the plot is still producing well and showing promise for the winter: the cabbages are hearting up, the sprouts are beginning to bud and the purple sprouting broccoli is starting to stand tall, although covered with those pesky whitefly. Does anyone know of an organic way to treat them?