Sunday, June 19, 2011


I took the time to clear our three tree pits last week, having watched them fill with weeds, desirable and otherwise. There were flowers growing, some of which appeared quite cultivated. As I weeded, a young girl, maybe 7 or so, stopped to ask what one of the weeds in an uncleared pit was called. I said that I wasn't sure, maybe pennycress (Thlaspi arvense). She said, no -its' Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)! Ahh, I said, I think you are right and I better get you on my payroll. Her mother then stepped in to say how she had taken a class with the Wild Man, although she was a little concerned. We began talking about the weeds that I was pulling, and she implored me not to pull the plants that she had planted! OH, that's where those cultivated-type weeds had come from. She informed me that she had "seed-bombed," had I heard of that? Of course I had, as much as I've heard of the Wild Man. And so the reason there were peculiar flowering weeds in my tree pits was discovered. And the mother and daughter moved on and I continued to clear.

The next morning, Tuesday morning, my wife went out to plant some seeds in a tray that will eventually be transplanted to the pits. Why is Tuesday morning relevant?

It so happens that every other Tuesday, a small group of  NYers meet on a road in Prospect Park to pick up the trash. Read that story here, or here from the woman who started it all. Our last outing, on a warm, humid pre-summer morning, took us into the heart of the wood where the sex life of men is laid bare on the humus. I found it ironic, on that very morning, that I should find a freshly filled rubber and wipes in one of our three tree pits -the one I had just cleared of weeds the afternoon before. 

In an attempt to keep the tree pits cleared, I put stakes and twine around the edges (not seen here). Dog walkers leave the biggest nasty in the tree pits, followed by the local feral cats, and then the convenience trash.

So I put up a couple of pictographic signs, laser etched into laminated cedar shakes.

The knot in the shake is well placed, eh?

And today, a water truck came to pressure wash each pit. How nice.


  1. Oy.

    I must remind the cat about the dog sign. He has lapsed. We like it.

  2. did the water truck blast out the newly-planted?

    it seems to me that people throw more trash into my garden just after i do a big clean-out. or i could just notice it more.

    i am sure your tree pit gardening is appreciated.

  3. Marie,
    Talk to the cat.

    Donna, I think they do throw more in there after a cleanout.

  4. Ok, but the sign kind of looks like you're telling people to have their dogs poop in their owners' hands. Which amuses the hell out of me, but I'm not sure it will catch on.

  5. Ellen, you're probably right, but it made me feel better.

  6. Oooh, I love the sign!!! I need one right in front of our yard for our neighbors who let their dogs go right on our lawn!!

  7. Such a shame to see anyone trash a community garden like that in New York. I applaud all of your efforts to keep your block beautiful, and hopefully the (rather funny) signs you put up will work. Hope the pressure washer didn't do too much damage!


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