We are on Molson Street, in the Rosemont-La Petite-Battery neighborhood. In front of nearly every house, between Bellechasse and Beaubien, on the west side, the inhabitants took possession of small portions of the land around the trees lining the sidewalk. They planted flowers, plants and happiness there.
It’s just for fun, because it’s beautiful. He is alive. It’s also a good exercise, gardeningThe former teacher who has been living down the street for 11 years says with a smile.
A few steps away, a large leafy spot of blue-purple. It feels like Provence.
People stop and put their hands in the lavender. They breathe the smellJocelyn Bissonnette, 60, is happy.
Lavender on the sidewalk, the idea came to her during a trip to France. Elle et son mari abrient la précieuse plante méridionale l’hiver pour la protéger, mais l’été, ils en profitent et préfèrent prendre l’apéro sur la galerie avant, au lieu de goûter la douceur des soirs d’édétés behind the house.
” Street gardens brought like village atmosphere. Neighbors talk to each other, help each other, give each other plants. Passersby stopped to talk to us. »
Street gardens, a light summer theme, so light, you might say, dear readers? This phenomenon has spread, for several years, like friendly couch grass on the streets of the capital and in all neighborhoods, or almost. Besides the simple contribution to beauty, it translates a change in the citizen’s attitude.
Street gardens are a bit like: “Ask not yourself what the city can do for you, but what you can do for the city.”As François Croteau, urban planner and former mayor of Rosemont-la-Petite-Patrie, a pioneer in this region, says, quoting the famous phrase of John F. Kennedy.
The idea originally came from San Francisco, on the West Coast, in the early 2010s. At first, it was very marginal here.
To promote the growth of these small gardens, François Croteau has created various incentives over the years, a program called
Act as if you were at homefrom which we still see the little posters proliferating on the sidewalks of the town, posters that mean: Here are the places where plants grow.
This expression was not chosen at random: the idea was to place the people at the heart of the city’s public space, because the public space belongs to the citizens.
I caught someone stealing plants from the garden.says Manon Massey, another gardener on Molson Street.
I said to him, what are you doing here? He said: I steal flowers from the city. When I told him that it was not about the city, and that it was the citizens who cultivated, he felt completely sorry.
In addition to a sense of belonging, the street garden, as former mayor François Kruto explains, is a godsend for municipal services.
This results in a significant reduction in illegal dumping of waste on the street, there is less mischief around parks, fewer broken windows, less graffiti, and therefore lower maintenance costs for the city.
Street gardens, according to Francois Croto, also help absorb rainwater and at the same time reduce its impact on the sewage system, they also help in pollination, reduce heat islands, etc. But in an intangible way, these little bits of greenery stolen from the sidewalk create a sense of security among the residents. Pride too.
In 92, Dennis Goodwin also planted a small patch of sidewalk. His neighbors help him.
It’s nice when people stop and tell us they’re making a U-turn on our streetAs graceful says. Mrs. Goodwin has lived down the street for 83 years.
In the 1940s, people didn’t have the money or time to do this kind of thing. The mothers of 7, 8 or 10 kids were very busy.
However, François Croteau evokes the fact that prior to Expo 67, citizens would grow, in certain corners of Montreal, middle vegetables to feed themselves.
But Jean Drabo removed it before the World’s Fair, because it didn’t look clean.The city planner said with a wry smile.
While street gardens were the work of a few originals just a few years ago, today there are thousands in the city.
Montreal is a leading company in this fieldFrancois Croto says proudly.
On Boyer Street, the citizens had an idea, three years ago, to bloom with the neighbors CHSLDAll cold concrete in front of their house. The street garden is gaining ground, from the sidewalk to the public buildings. A little further north, still in Boyer, other neighbors planted tomato plants, and little red balls on macadamia. Matching vegetables with a human flavor.
While the vast majority of these gardens are relatively modest, with a few daylilies and ferns, others have taken the concept further and elevated it to a work of art.
Between Marianne and Rachel, rue Garnier, in the Plateau Mont-Royal, Claude Desnoyers, 75, turns these little bits of sidewalk into veritable little Japanese gardens. In one of them, he even installed a pond in which the goldfish swim, fascinating the children of the neighborhood. His sister, who lives in the countryside, supplies him with wood, which he combines among various plants.
How many hours does he spend to please his neighbors?
When we love, we don’t count!
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