Elizabeth St. Garden – A Gorgeous Patch Of Green
I’ve just been to visit my daughter in New York. She lives in a part of town that boasts lots of pavement cafes, trendy restaurants, lighting shops and nail salons but no trees. Earlier that day we’d had the most wonderful thunder storm which made me feel like I was back in Africa for a moment until I looked out the window at the opposite wall.
My spirits flagged in the midst of all the traffic, noise and concrete, so as soon as the weather cleared Carey, Riley the dog and I set out to find a patch of green to call our own for an hour or so.
Carey took me to the Elizabeth St. Garden a few blocks away, in Little Italy. It is a lovely little garden of 20 000 feet in the heart of concrete land that provides a breath of fresh air for the local residents. The garden is rented to the adjoining antique store whose owner kindly, if somewhat reluctantly, opened the garden to the residents after they discovered it was actually city land.
The place is very quirky, with statues keeping watch over the visitors and the volunteers who tend summer bloomers in the raised garden beds. Carey got so excited at the prospect of digging in the dirt that she immediately signed up to become one of the gardeners. Lots of volunteers work in the garden, many bringing their own plants from cuttings they have taken.
Many New Yorkers make use of the garden, reading on the benches, chatting or just relaxing on the only green grass for miles around.
Elizabeth St. garden boasts a couple of varieties of hydrangea, both looking healthy and full of flowers. Cone flowers and Bee Balm flourished beside them, with bees and bumble bees making the most of what had turned into a lovely, sunny morning. Shrubs that are similar to Hibiscus but not quite the same were letting their blooms droop open. The flowers are frailer, the leaves thinner. They are definitely members of the mallow family though.
Sun loving annuals, cabbages and tomato plants were dotted among the sedums and salvias, along with quite a few grasses which I’m not sure were supposed to be there but which added variety to the show anyway.
Riley the dog wasn’t quite sure what to do with the greenery at her feet so stayed close to her erstwhile mistress.
It seems so strange to me that city dogs and cats don’t have dirt to pee in, that all ablutions are made on the tar and then wrapped up and dropped into the closest bin. Not that I want them to all use this little garden, of course, but you know what I mean. City life is away from nature unless you’re lucky enough to live close to a park. Kids are growing up without knowing where flowers and vegetables come from or how to climb secretive, brooding trees rather than jungle gyms.
I believe the council wants to bulldoze the garden to put up more buildings but the residents are taking a stand. They want their patch of earth, even if they never visit it. It’s a good thing just to know it’s there.
Happy gardening and please don’t forget your sunscreen. There’s so much skin cancer about, you must protect your skin.
Here is a link to a list of gopher resistant plants: http://www.groundcoversandgardening.com/gopher resistant plants.
If you want to buy plants that deer probably won’t eat, look here.
If you want more information on how to grow your own plants from cuttings, read my article on how to do it, or grab a copy of The Shoestring Gardener for more details on those and other gardening hacks.
Please share if you enjoyed this article.