The Greening of Queen Street

The lifespan of the average street tree is a mere 10 years. Those spindly things sticking up out of 3-foot square gaps in the sidewalk never have a chance. They’re not watered regularly, and so much of their root system is covered by sidewalk, it wouldn’t matter if they were. Add to that the indignities of bicycle locks, overzealous posterers and every dog that passes by and it’s no wonder the trees along Toronto’s major arteries look as if Charlie Brown is in charge of their care.

Except that a few folks along a stretch of Queen Street West have taken matters into their own hands. By pulling up the cobblestone or metal grates that usually surround a street tree and planting other greenery, such as herbs, and even rosebushes, then adding a rustic bit of fencing and a big ol’ stump for sitting on, these trees between Euclid and Claremont Street are having a fine summer.

Cyclists and pedestrians seen to be respecting this bit of guerrilla gardening. This particular planting is quite lush with a variety of flowers, fencing and stone details. There’s been so much rain, there’s no need to water these little gardens, but someone has obviously been weeding and pruning.

It’s hard to say if this extra care will help the street trees live longer than their projected 10 years, but the ones along this block seem to be doing exceptionally well. And even if they do need replacing in 10 years, for now, someone’s effort and care has made this little bit of Queen Street West such a delight to walk along.