WATERSHED RAMBLES

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” (Sermon on the Mount)

By Don Doucette

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What does a vacant commuter parking lot have to offer after the commuters and their transport have scattered?

Several years ago I observed from the Attleboro transport commuter parking area the demolition of the former Attleboro DPW facility situated within the Ten Mile River Watershed floodplain. And during that time discovered a blooming and untended wildflower garden in Attleboro’s urban city center. In season, this garden masks blown-about urban trash with its natural screen of biomass and beauty.

I speak of the banking separating the commuter parking level from the vacated DPW lot below where the linear river park and the extension of Wall Street now exist. A vacant lot presently remains in-between as a no-man’s land where nature heals its wounds as wild plants naturally and doggedly germinate seed.

I returned time after time as the demolition activity wound down and efforts increased to extend the street and finish construction of the linear river park – Robbins Park. However once hypnotically captured, I fixated on the natural wildflower planting until frosts and autumn leaves fell and I have persisted through succeeding years.

This mass of randomly and successfully blooming wildflowers pleases the eye of the appreciative beholder from late spring through to late autumn when seasonal wild asters are still hanging on.

No tools required here, no fertilizers, no organics, no sweat equity, no garden do-dads, just the joyful inward expression of contentment with time invested while appreciating the random beauty of nature.

I am older now and have problems walking distances. My urban garden is handicap friendly as I visit when the parking lot is empty and listen to recorded classical music as my car slowly inches along the edge margin – I observe and inventory from the high ground (with wildflower guide at hand) new blooms as the season progresses. 

This is my random layman’s account of wildflowers presently in bloom today; fleabane, St.-John’s-wort, oyster plant, a campion variation, dianthus, vetch, wild lettuce, knapweed, Queen-Anne’s lace, white yarrow and a variety of clovers…yellow sweet-clover, white sweet-clover, bush clover, and yellow (hop) clover. 

There is a natural not-so-attractive drying cycle during the summer dog days before later blooming varieties take hold.

However, the drying cycle adds another positive dimension to the garden. As wildflower seeds dry, a variety of song birds join and feast until winter sets in.

I understand the existence of our garden is not secure due to potential redevelopment activities or if given time, invasive plants overpower our non-care urban garden as choking Japanese knot weed presently advances.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy identifying and viewing wildflowers, favor this urban wildflower opportunity while it lasts.

 

Don Doucette

Attleboro, MA

“Friends of the Ten Mile”

Citizen of the Ten Mile River Watershed