The park at the end of our street is a wonderful space for kids. There are broad paved paths perfect for learning to ride bikes, a smaller play structure for climbing and sliding, lots of little hills to roll down and tables and seating to encourage congregation of families and neighbours. About the only thing missing from this great little gem, IMO, are some kid-friendly plants with flowers to be enjoyed or picked that are hardy enough to withstand the heat from the asphalt and the love from the children. What the park accomplishes in fun and function, it sorely lacks in visual appeal. A few half-hearted efforts in years past have left a couple patches of mangy forsythia bushes, some enthusiastic daylilies, a couple random tulips, and violets that have self-seeded sporadically around the park.
Fortunately, I've a surfeit of Spring-flowering plants needing new homes.
This morning, after dropping the kids at school, I grabbed my trowel and a bucket and headed into my Urban Jungle. Five minutes of effort filled the container to overflow and saw me headed down the road to introduce them to their new lodgings.
I took a few moments to gauge the space and get an idea what I can do at future points over the Spring and Summer, and then got down to business. Our local park is now the new home of some William and Mary, several different colours of violets, bleeding heart, and catmint. Once the daylilies at the park bloom and I can see what colour they are, I'll move a few different colours down to complement them.
Beautifying public spaces with excess garden plants is a great way to share the bounty of your own garden, but also a great way to encourage others to participate in keeping public spaces places people can enjoy. Well-maintained, actively-used parks are less likely to become problem areas breeding vandalism, littering and other anti-social behaviours. Community gardening efforts can bring together neighbours to a common cause and purpose and create safe, strong neighbourhoods for all of us.
Go try a little guerrilla gardening of your own -- you might be surprised by how satisfying it can be to beautify a bit of your 'hood!