Monday, October 31, 2011
Hike the Geek: Guerilla Gardens
A couple of weeks ago I lead a Hike the Geek event to tour some of the Guerilla Gardens that have been planted in Toronto over the last few years. I highly recommend checking out that GG link, it's a map and this post won't make much sense if you don't go see it! Obviously it's not possible to see anything like all of those gardens in a single day, let alone a single hike. We started the hike at hacklab.to, and proceeded around in a big circle, hitting the letters N F Q I H J on the map. As expected, many of the gardens couldn't be found. Here's my memory of each:
N: Bellevue and Oxford. There is a green patch at the corner, but it's not clear if it's the GG or not. More notably, whoever owns the house on that lot has a really awesome veggie garden just inside his fence!
F: Bathurst and College. I believe we found the remains of the GG under a tree on the south west corner. There is a dirt patch maybe 12 feet x 6 feet, with the tree in the middle, and there is evidence of some bulbs and stuff, but it's very sad. In my opinion this is an excellent site for a GG, and this spot should totally get a do-over at some point. It's highly visible, gets shade from the tree, and is a manageable size. Plus it's kind of sad right now!
Q: College and University. There is an enormous construction site on the south east corner, we suspect the GG was in there somewhere, since we couldn't find anything at all around this location.
I: 409 Yonge Street. The GG here has survived, it's in a kind of nook made by the buildings. Very shady spot, but the garden seems to be doing pretty well.
H: Dundas Street East & Parliament. This is by FAR the most glorious GG that we found, it's huge and quite unlike any garden that the city maintains. It clear that it's getting a lot of love from a lot of people, probably some neighbors. There are all manner of perennial plants, some shrubs, lots of pretty flowers, even some epic beans running up the power pole! Totally the highlight of the hike (photo of this garden pictured on this post)
J: Dundas Street East & George. There is a weed infested edge along side a fenced empty lot, but for the life of me I couldn't spot any gardening activity there. Whatever was done in 2009 has been drowned out completely. But it is a pretty decent spot for a GG, just HUGE is all - kind of reminds me of the downtown plot this year (what the map shows as A).
I also got a chance to go and see this years West End plant about a week ago, and it's actually doing quite well. There are three enormous weeds on the back side, but some of the flowers are still in bloom, and the garden is quite green in general.
You can see almost all of these on my Hike the Geek: Guerilla Gardens flickr page.
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