Cattails In the Corner

15 08 2018

Cattails in the corner

As promised – the photo of the cattails growing in the northwest corner where the two retaining walls meet. There is a small crack between the concrete walls and the asphalt paving and a constant seep of water. We think there might be a natural spring finding an outlet as there are a lot of them along this ridge, once part of an ancient lake shore. Lots of clay and sand on the slope of the ridge which faces mostly east and runs north and south. These popped up this spring. No sign of the brown cattails themselves yet but it’s the first year for them and they might not even be cattails, we’re not sure.Whatever they are they’re a good six feet tall and there are dragonflies that like to visit and sit on them.

There are some elderberry plants down in the “alley”, a cottonwood sapling, several well-grown trees-of-heaven (which need to be removed as they’ve grown into the electric lines), burdock, thistle and other weedy growth which has made the “alley” pretty much impassible. It’s city property but they don’t bother with it and won’t unless there are complaints. Not many people ever see it so there’s not much likelihood it’ll change. It would make a nice place for raised beds full of vegetables along with a few flowers, if someone wanted to make the effort to clean it up and tend that kind of garden as it’s sheltered between a high concrete retaining wall and the rear wall of a commercial building with no rear doors and only opens on the south end, there’s a fence, trees and bushes on the north end, and good full sun most of the day.

 

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11 responses

15 08 2018
dayphoto

Where there is a will…..

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16 08 2018
Aquila

Maybe. Doing the kind of work that would be necessary to accomplish a vegetable garden of that nature would be far beyond my physical capabilities. I have suggested it to a couple of neighbors who live in nearby apartment building but no one is inclined as it’s city property.

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16 08 2018
dayphoto

Oh. Shoot

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15 08 2018
insearchofitall

Bet if you started a garden out there the city would decide to come clean it up. That’s how they work. Nature always finds a way doesn’t it?

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16 08 2018
Aquila

Nature is incredible!. I haven’t the physical ability to clean up that alley or do the kind of work that would be neccesary to start a vegetable garden of that sort. You’re right though, if someone did go to the effort of doing that the city would come in and destroy the vegetable garden and then cite them for destruction of city property or some other silly thing. I do that a vegetable garden would be a good use of that land, it’s an alley in name only.

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7 10 2018
Sheryl

It’s amazing how the cattails are able to grow in a spot like this.

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8 10 2018
Aquila

I agree. As the days have gone by I’m coming to think these are not cattails, but one of the tall grasses that grow along damp road edges in places. There have not been any seed heads yet, they may not be old enough for that since they really only got a good start this spring. They were cut down last year. It’s always damp in that corner, hot with full sun and the plants evidently really like it there and they don’t need any care at all.

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10 02 2019
didirks

You found a little treasure micro-climate. The plants you are naming are either edible or medicinal. I’d find out who owns it and see if you can get it granted for a community garden or for yourself. If there is a spring there, wow, lucky you. They don’t look like cat tail to me. Not knowing which state or area this is, it’s hard to tell. But it might be wild bamboo which isn’t the same variety as Asian bamboo. It grows here in Georgia usually not growing taller than about 5 feet. I’d have to see a closer shot, but that’s what it looks like. Cat tail has that hot dog like brown flowering area off a tall stalk and it grows in water. This looks more like a perennial grass.

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10 02 2019
Aquila

It is some kind of tall grass, I finally saw the same kind along one of the streets that runs between a golf course and cemetery that has a bit of a ditch on the south side and a large stand of that same grass. It was too early in the year when that photo was taken for any flowering or seed heads to be there. That corner is always damp. Technically that strip is an alley and city property, fenced at the north end and with a rather high curb and a 4-cubic foot dumpster at the south end. I’ve been to the community organization to ask about using it as a community garden but they told me the city would not allow it as they consider it an alley and supposedly would not allow it blocked off. Considering this city, it’s not likely they would change its designation – sadly. I did find out that about 20 years ago someone tried to turn it into a community garden and was forced by the city to remove everything they had planted, the raised beds and return it to a weed patch. There was a wholesale hacking and removal of whatever was growing there late autumn so it’s hard to say what might grow come springtime.
The spring is something of a mixed blessing, it undermines the concrete retaining walls and building foundations. It was very poor planning when the building were put here back in 1957 (I’m 5th generation in this neighborhood). No cassions were put in prior to pouring the building footings and foundations, which has allowed the spring to damage said foundations. The lower two apartment buildings have both got damaged foundations which the uphill one from us has dealt with by pumping concrete underneath. The building I live in would benefit from the same solution, however it is very expensive and I doubt the building owner could afford it without raising rents to the point no one would rent from him.
I would love to be able to move to a rural location with a small acreage, however that does not look to be in my future.

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19 03 2019
didirks

Dear Aquila. You have been following my blog for awhile and I decided to say hi. If you wanted to grow a garden, on that space, my advice would be to flatten it as best you could with a rake and maybe a bit of shovel work, nothing horribly physical, and start putting in a container garden. I’ll bet you could find a bunch of free 5 gal. buckets on Craig’s List or from a small business making soap or other means, drill some holes in the bottom, use the lid as a tray, fill them with good potting soil (I like Miracle Grow but you might find it bulk thru a landscape company nearby), and start your garden. Then, if the city decides you need to move, you move your container someplace else. It’s mobile gardening. It’s also a kind of guerilla gardening Permaculture is famous for. Some of the most interesting guerilla gardens pop up here and there all over. People growing food, herbs, flowers for bees, etc. Start with two or three. All you need to do is find a water source. If the soil there is really moist, find out where it is coming from, dig a hole, line it with bricks and you can dip a bucket in and get your water that way. That’s what I would do. I started HIllside Gardens here in Auburn, Ga., by containers on my back deck. The soil is so brick hard here that the only way to grow is in raised beds but that was my start here. I recommend it. It’s amazing what you can grow in a few buckets. Good Luck. The Garden Lady of Georgia

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19 03 2019
Aquila

Thanks for the suggestions. I will see what presents itself.

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