Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Iris and Chickens in the Ghetto Garden!
Showcase Antiques-Detroit

Oh what a delight, a chicken delight! These friendly egg-laying creatures live right in the middle of the angry Cass Corridor, down here in Detroit City! These beautiful hens and roosters are enjoying the balmy weather with temperatures that had reached 54 degrees on January 29, 2013! Can you also see the jagged edges of Iris plants peeking up over the fence? We have about three more months of cold winter ahead of us, but don't tell them!

This is a small  fraction of the flower garden that used to stand here on this spot. The wooden fence to the right was built to section off the rest of the acreage, where hundreds of colorful Iris bloomed for many years. The land on which they grew did not rightfully belong to the gardeners, but everyone loved them; those  flowers brought an abundance of joy to the neighborhood every spring.
The great expanse of wooden fence in the picture above shows you just how big that Iris garden was. Unfortunately , the owners of a new business bought their building along with the adjacent land which served as the Iris garden. The new owners understood the importance of the garden, so everyone in the community was given the opportunity to bring a shovel and bushel basket and fetch home as many plants as they could. This was a chance to keep the garden alive in the minds and hearts of everyone. Forever.

There were a few dozen plants left over when the backhoe came through to prepare the land to become a paved lot. The remaining plants were placed carefully last summer in the big pile that you see to the left. Iris plants are grown from bulbs and are usually quite hardy, but you should take precautions to not lose too much soil when transferring them.
Ah, nature. You can tamper with it, move it, shake it and all but destroy it, but it will not let you kill it very easily. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see tiny shoots of Iris popping up through the hard, frozen, winter  ground. These are the plants that I rescued and put into my ghetto garden last summer. I knew nothing about planting bulbs and I basically just dug some holes and plopped them in. Most of the flowers went into immediate shock, and died. Or so I had thought. I had one Iris plant keep on flowering for the rest of the summer and I was happy that even one had thrived! Every time I checked on my plants to water or feed them, it seemed as though all the squirrels were digging them up or eating the tender roots. I basically began to give up hope that any of the Iris would survive.

Let this serve as a lesson to all of us, that even in the harshest of conditions, life is precious  and it will do whatever it takes to reproduce and keep the species alive. No matter how badly something is treated, there is always a chance that it will overcome the obstacles and maybe try even harder to live and bring happiness. A discarded Iris plant, left in a heap on a litter-strewned mound in summer, will find a new home and eagerly want to flower come the spring. Such is the beauty of nature. Such is the beauty of love.

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