P80113My little planter box downtown that I wrote about last week and earlier must be the weirdest garden that I have ever tended to. ( https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/my-tiny-downtown-garden/ ) I certainly enjoy it. There are not many horticultural problems that can not be remedied by simply removing plants that should not be out there anyway. The weirdness though is just . . . weird . . . and unique to the situation of a tiny garden in such a public space.

I have had weird neighbors before. Hey, I live where I do. Well, a resident of Nicholson Avenue saw me working on my garden one day and stopped to tell me what I should plant in it for compatibility with the color scheme of the front garden of her home a block and a half to the west. You see, she payed a lot of money for her home, and I payed nothing for my planter box that belonged to the town that her expensive taxes sustain. I just smiled and nodded my head until she drove away. I then continued to plant flowers that were compatible with the color scheme of Mike’s Bikes, the bicycle store that my planter box happens to be in front of.

Being in front of a bicycle store, the planter box collects quite a bit of discarded bicycle parts. Just about any part that can be purchased in the store and changed on the sidewalk out front has ended up in the planter box. I also find nice beer and wine glasses discarded by patrons of local bars. A worse aspect of the proximity to bars is that those who imbibe excessively sometimes barf into the planter box. Speaking of puddles, a contractor who was doing some tile work at Mike’s Bikes dumped a bucket of slurry from the mortar into my planter box, leaving a puddle of mortar that solidified into a round concrete disc about two and a half feet wide and an inch and a half thick. Cannas, housleeks, aloes and nasturtiums were all encased, and had to be removed with the concrete!

I prefer to grow flowers that are small and abundant rather than larger flowers that would be missed when they get taken. My bronze houseleek has been trying to grow as long as the green houseleeks, but gets broken off and taken as soon as it starts to look good. I figured that nasturtiums were too abundant to be missed if someone too a few. Yet, I noticed that so many were getting taken that the blank flower stalks were more evident than developing flowers. When I confronted someone who was taking them and putting them in a big plastic bag full of plucked nasturtium flowers, she told me that they are edible. So? I certainly do not mind sharing; but if anyone wants to eat THAT many of them, they should grow them in their own garden!

On another occasion, someone stopped to tell me that rosemary is a useful culinary herb, as if it were not something that a horticulturist would know about, and then yanked a huge chunk of it from the meticulously tailored rosemary that cascaded so nicely over the wall of the planter box before I could chase him away. Another chunk of rosemary was burned by the exhaust of a car that was left idling in the loading zone while a client of Mike’s Bikes was inside retrieving his bicycle from the repair shop. The drama just never ends.

But there is one oddity that I neither mind nor tamper with. It has not become a problem yet. On the north side of the planter box, adjacent to the backside of a park bench, pebbles and small stones have been gathering for a few months. Some disappear as new ones arrive, so that there are never too many at any one time. At first, I thought that they were just some of the detritus that someone flung aside after sweeping out their car while parked at the curb. Yet, there is no other trash or debris associated with the stones. They happen to be in the only spot that has been undefiled by discarded bicycle parts, glasses or barf. They seem to be placed quite deliberately in small groupings and patterns. They reminded me of those small stones that some people like to place in gravel Zen Gardens. I really do not know why they are there; but if someone is able to enjoy this little garden downtown in that way, than I probably should not interfere. The pebbles remain.P80113+

20 thoughts on “Pebbles

  1. I love your „hanging“ rosemary. I have a five year old bush in my garden which has survived many snowstorms and has been flowering for a year constantly in spite of minus temperatures, I spice my food with the rosemary. I have never thought of it as a decorative hanging plant.

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    1. Those were there when I got the planter. I really like them, even though I would not have thought to plant them. I like the naturtiums; but the rosemary stays when the nasturtiums die off every year. There was a shrubby one in there too, but I relocated it before it got too big. Rosemary is such a tough plant! It takes cold as well as extreme heat. It lives in Trona, where the soil is saline and the heat is dangerous for people and animals.

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  2. The things people do is interesting and weird. I volunteer in a public garden and someone put ceramic angels everywhere, but unfortunately someone also committed suicide there too. The two events were years apart and not related.

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    1. In a way, the mystery is better than knowing. They were probably just chucked there by someone sweeping the sidewalk; but I like to think that they are important in some way. Hundreds of people walk by daily, but no one knows the importance of the plants there.

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    1. I am fortunate that they did not claim the box for their own.
      Although I am proficient with horticulture, I am not proficient with design or color. I like to know what they prefer for the front of their store, and what would look good.

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      1. You should have seen it when the nasturtiums were going last winter! Oh my! They slowed traffic! That was about the time that the neighbor told me to get rid of the nasturtiums and replace them with pink flowers for compatibility with her color scheme.

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    1. The surprises are rare, but they are ‘surprises’ when they happen. They are certainly not there every week. A few stones is pretty light duty, and a nice reminder that someone appreciates the garden.

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    1. I do not tend to it much at all any more. It used to take more work when I planted annuals in it. The big aeoniums have taken over. I only need to groom them of faded leaves and prune them for containment. I should work on it on Monday, but have not done anything in quit a while. The rosemary needs to be pruned low. I do not like it to pile up too much. It blooms almost all year.

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  3. I love this story… I designed demonstration gardens for 5 big (32 foot) planters at the local Fairgrounds, and although they don’t get anywhere near the “action” that yours gets – it is interesting the things people do. One of them is painted river rocks! They get tucked into different gardens for a while – like little hidden treasures – and then they are gone! A bit like yours… only a bit more colorful! One of the beds is a Permaculture garden and the first winter someone dug up the horseradish! This winter someone went into the Rain Garden bed and pulled up and moved every one of the big rocks my son had so artistically placed! Didn’t TAKE them – just moved them a little?! Children seem to enjoy moving plant name tags around…although maybe it’s not children … 🙂 Reading your adventures makes me realize that we are very fortunate!

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    1. Have you seen the trend of hiding painted rocks on Facebook? For example, “Santa Cruz County Rocks” and “Trona Rocks”. If you look them up on Facebook, you can read about this fad. As much as I dislike fads, I thought that this one was rather cool. I wrote an article about it a while back ‘Rocks’.


  4. Reblogged this on Tony Tomeo and commented:

    Wow! This old article reminds me that I MUST get back to maintaining my planter box. I had been unable to do so with so much of everything else going on, and then by the time that I got more time to go back, I could not because of the Regional Stay Home Order.


    1. I was told that I should just give up on it. Sadly, I have been unable to maintain it for more than a year, so it looks very shabby presently. Because of the current ‘situation’ I can do nothing about it just yet. (This is an old article.) I intend to renovate it, and continue to maintain it. I really should expect problems, and not be so uptight about it.


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