We are located on rue Molson in the borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. In front of almost every house, between Bellechasse and Beaubien, on the west side, the inhabitants have taken possession of small plots of land around the trees that border the sidewalk. They planted flowers, plants, happiness there.
It’s just for fun, because it’s beautiful. It is alive. It’s good exercise, gardening tooThe former teacher, who has lived on the street for 11 years, said with a laugh.
A few steps away, a large, lush patch of blue-purple color. It feels like Provence.
People stopped and put their hands in lavender. They inhale the scentJocelyn Bissonnette, 60, is happy.
Lavender on the sidewalk, she got the idea during a trip to France. She and her husband shelter the precious southern plant in winter, but in summer they take advantage of it and prefer to have an aperitif on the front porch, instead of savoring the sweetness of summer evenings hidden in the garden behind the house. .
” The street gardens bring a village atmosphere. Neighbors talk to each other, help each other, we give each other plants. Passers by stopped to talk to us. »
Street gardens, a light summer thing, too light, dear readers? This phenomenon has, over the years, spread like friendly couch grass in the streets of the metropolis and in all the boroughs or so. Rather than a simple contribution to beauty, it translates into a citizen’s change in posture.
Street gardens are a bit like this: “Ask yourself not what the city can do for you, but what you can do for the city.”François Croteau, urban planner and former mayor of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, a pioneering borough in the region, John F. said, paraphrasing Kennedy’s famous phrase.
The idea originally came from San Francisco on the west coast in the early 2010s. Initially, there was very little here.
To encourage the development of these small plantations, François Croteau established various incentives over the years, known as the program.
Do it yourself at homeOf these we can still see small posters multiplying on the sidewalks of the borough, the posters meaning: Here, a citizen plants.
This expression was not chosen by chance: the idea is to place people at the center of the city’s public space, as public space belongs to citizens.
The other day I caught a man stealing plants from the garden.said Manon Massey, another gardener at Rue Molson.
I said to him: What are you doing here? He replied: I steal flowers from the city. When told that the City had nothing to do with it, and that Nat was the citizen, he was completely forgiven.
Beyond a sense of belonging, the street garden is a godsend for municipal services, explained former mayor Francois Croteau.
This will lead to a significant reduction in illegal dumping of waste on the street, less riots around gardens, less broken windows, less graffiti and therefore lower maintenance costs for the city.
Street gardens, according to Francois Croteau, help absorb rainwater and at the same time reduce its impact on the sewer network, and they help pollinate, reduce heat islands. But invisibly, this little piece of greenery stolen from the sidewalk creates a sense of security among residents. Pride too.
At 92, Denise Jodoin also cultivates her own little trail. His neighbors help him.
It was nice, people stopped and told us they were detouring to go down our street, she said, dapper. Mrs Jodoin has lived on the street for 83 years.
In the 1940s, people didn’t have the money or time to do this kind of work. Mothers of 7, 8 or 10 children are very busy.
However, prior to Expo 67, François Croteau evoked the fact that citizens grew vegetables in some corners of Montreal, in middens to support themselves.
But Jean Drapeau removed it before the Universal Exhibition because it did not look clean.said the town planner with a mocking laugh.
While street gardens were the work of a few originals a few years ago, today there are thousands in the city.
Montreal is a leader in this fieldFrançois Croteau said proudly.
In rue Boer, citizens came up with the idea of flowering together with neighbors three years ago CHSLDAll cold concrete in front of their house. A street garden is gaining ground from sidewalks to public buildings. A little further north, still in Boer, other neighbors planted tomato plants, little red balls on macadam. Vegetable emulation is delicious with humanity.
While most of these gardens are relatively modest, with a few daylilies and ferns, others take the concept further and grow it into a work of art.
Between Marianne and Rachel, rue Garnier, on the Plateau-Mont-Royal, Claude Desnoyers, 75, has transformed these small sidewalks into real little Japanese gardens. In one of them, he even set up a goldfish swimming pond, which attracted the neighbors’ children. His sister, who lives in the countryside, provides him with logs that he arranges among various plants.
How many hours does he spend for the happiness of his neighbor?
When we love, we don’t count!