However you feel about gentrification – and it has it pros and cons – it has to be said that part of its purpose is to clean places up. Clean out the grubby building, the grubby litter, the grubby people and all that grubby scrub at the side of the road. Gentrification means pristine lawns and swept walks. Sure there are flowers, but they’re there on purpose – well trimmed and watered and chosen to make a statement.
With all the new condos going up around our hood, one of the things going missing is the wildflowers. There used to be a stretch along Dovercourt that was old derelict factories – it’s full of ugly faceless townhouses now – that was just covered in cornflowers and Queen Anne’s lace in the summer. Most of Joe Shuster Way was a vacant lot for a few years, and before they dug a ginormous pit there, it too was full of flowers in the summer. Along the fence there would be buttercups, daisies, more corn flowers… and some huge things I couldn’t identify but that were mighty in size.
These images are from some scrub around the bus shelter at Dufferin and Queen. It’s a strip mall layout, slated to become – guess! – condos, although with the current recession, that plan might have gotten scrapped. I’m always pleased to see wildflowers in places like this; not only taking root in the cracks in the concrete, but thriving, huge, 3 or 4 feet high.
Most people probably think of them as ugly weeds, but I enjoy them far more that I do an overly thought-out “landscaped” arrangement of mundane but acceptable flowers from the garden centre.