Gardening as Art


My roundabout garden at 6th and Trafalgar in Kitsilano (Vancouver,BC) has recently had its 15 minutes of fame.

First of all, a journalist who lives in the neighbourhood wrote a piece about it and “Mary Whoever-You-Are” (that’s me!). And then CBC TV did a piece for Earth Day featuring myself and fellow Green Streets Gardener Elayne Armstrong (Broadway and Balsam).

But is it art??? you ask.

And yes, I answer, in several ways.

1. Gardening is an art – period.

2. I have a bird art sculpture made for Worldwide Bird Art Installation Day in my garden. Someone has left a metal lizard and a hat for the bird.

3. I also have two artful mason bee houses.

4. Open Source Landscaping – a phrase coined by Oliver Kellhammer to describe a public area where the gardener/artist allows or encourages things to unfold. I’m not as out there as Oliver is and I took out the corn plants that were put in last year.

5. Botanical Intervention – another phrase from Oliver Kellhammer – plants put into an urban setting that “intervenes” in the habitual ways of people.

6. Relational Aesthetics – this little piece of ground encourages relationships.  I love the idea that I don’t know all of what happens there and if people know me at all, they know me as “Mary Whoever-You-Are”.

Click the photo at top for the Vancouver Sun article and here for the CBC TV news segment.

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