Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chapter 3: Green Graffiti

     Nobody can tell by looking at it--and I didn't even realize it at first--but what I'm really doing as I plant my mint, is marking my territory.  It struck me one night how much friendlier the streets seem to me since I've started doing this experiment.  Maybe it was obvious all along: the more work I put into planting the mint, the more I put at stake, the more I care what happens downtown, the less frightening downtown seems, the more I feel at home.  It's as if I am extending my living space as I tend to my scattered street-garden.  I expect in the future, street gangs will adopt this method of tagging and abandon their spray cans.  Turf wars will begin when a mint plant is uprooted and replaced with oregano.  But enough about the future:
     As we pass from summer into fall, there's a sort of miniature spring that is occurring, where the temperature and rainfall are just right for small plants to thrive.  And as mint has proven to be very resilient, it seems to be able to grow in anything that is brown and crumbly.   Staying true to their namesakes, Spirit and Opportunity continue to survive longer, and produce more, than expected:

(~2 1/2 months)

(~2 1/2 months)

And joining the one-month-and-over club, I present to you (in keeping in tradition of naming the mints after Mars landers and rovers) Viking and Pathfinder.

(~1 month)
(~2 months)
     The season of growth is now coming to a close as the days get colder and colder.  Will they survive the winter?  My prediction is that the leaves and stems will die and fall away, but that energy will be stored in the roots so when the warmer weather returns, small mint sprouts will emerge from the dirt.  Of course, that's only if they escape from being uprooted by gardeners, or bulldozed by construction workers.  The city is a constantly shifting landscape and there are no guarantees.  

Thanks for reading.