Gowanus in Bloom

Have you ever driven up Union Street between Bond and Nevins in the summertime, and been startled by the sight of an exuberant cottage garden blooming out of the sidewalk against a backdrop of graffiti?121_21991

Well, I have, and I’ve been moved to take pictures — and once, I saw a young woman watering with a garden hose, and stopped to chat. She told me she grew up in Vermont, and that the black-eyed susans and pink phlox and other cottage-y perennials came from her mom (as did her gardening talent).

I didn’t get her name, or find out how she came to garden on concrete. I didn’t even know you were allowed to grow flowers out of New York City sidewalks.

I just hope she’s still living nearby and will be back wielding her hose this season, because she ought to win an award for single-handedly brightening up the neighborhood.

Here’s what the spot looked like last week:


And here’s the very same scene in mid-summer.  I see white alyssum in abundance, and yellow day lilies. The orange flowers, I think, are also day lilies; the purple spikes, I’m not sure.


In the shot below, I can make out nasturtiums in the foreground and yellow…snapdragons, maybe?  Toward the back, those tall black flowers might be delphinium.  Anything else?  Those large leaves in the left foreground?

In any case, it’s an urban wonder.