My Herb Garden Becomes Famous

I’m part of a group initiating a project in Kits to enhance roundabout gardens for bee and butterfly habitat, community connections and just generally support volunteer gardeners in making their gardens more “unique and creative”.

Send me a note to maryinvancouver@gmail, if you’d like to know more about these kinds of initiatives. Click here for the story.

Micro projects add to Vancouver’s growing tapestry of green

Photograph by: Mark van Manen , Vancouver Sun

Mary’s herb garden, a traffic circle garden at 6th Ave. and Trafalgar St., is one of many personal projects that is greening the city of Vancouver.

In a traffic circle at the crossroads of 6th Avenue and Trafalgar Street in Vancouver is Mary’s herb garden. Small hand-painted signs invite passersby to please pick the herbs. It’s a modest garden. No showy miscanthus or towering hollyhocks. Just shrubby little bushes: rosemary, lemon thyme, oregano. Stuff you can use.

And every day people come. Sometimes they stare in disbelief. “We’re supposed to pick it,” they say.

Others make it a regular stop on the way home from the grocery store, to pick up something fresh for the sauce. Some come just to crush a leaf of chocolate mint and smell it. Parents stop by with toddlers.

My son even included it as a point of interest on a neighbourhood map for a recent school project, beating out Dairy Queen and McDonald’s.

So, thank you Mary. Whoever you are.

Traffic circle gardens are one of dozens of micro initiatives that are contributing to a texture to the city that reads like a relief map: a three-dimensional, interactive green terrain.

There is also the figurative relief these small oases provide. Relief from the endless ache of concrete grey sidewalks and skies and exhaust.

If we achieve our mayor’s goal to become the world’s greenest city by 2020, it may well be thanks to all the people like Mary that are doing something small that contributes to all.

Vancouver’s Greenest City Fund — a partnership between the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver foundation — provided over $500,000 in 2012, its first year, for micro initiatives like a roundabout in Collingwood, a natural playground in Hastings-Sunset, and heritage plum trees in Strathcona.

The program provides grants for resident-led neighbourhood projects, youth projects and community-wide projects.

While some city councillors still identify our paved seawall as being what Vancouver is famous for, people like Mary, and hundreds of others are dedicated to bringing more beauty and green to the spaces we share.

We’ve already paved paradise; maybe we’ll become famous for unpaving it one small space at a time.

dryan@vancouversun.com

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