Pothole gardens

pothole garden

What the? Flowers in the road! Image via PeteDungey.com.

Look: pothole gardens! Not sure how I missed this unique guerrilla gardening/art concept when it first popped up on the interwebs several years ago, but it’s awesome.

It seems people plant potholes for various reasons. UK artist Pete Dungey planted a series of potholes across England to highlight “the problem of surface imperfections on Britain’s roads.” A group of California College of the Arts students greened a San Francisco intersection to provoke discussion around the “road-centricity of our urban setting.”

pothole garden

A sweet little pothole garden by Steve Wheen at ThePotholeGardener.com. Photo by Allison Moore.

Steve at ThePotholeGardener.com started potting up potholes to highlight the problem of bad local road conditions, and, as a landless gardener, to satisfy his urge to plant.

planting a pothole

Planting a pothole. Photo by Allison Moore.

tijuana pothole garden

Marigolds bloom in Shannon Spanhake’s Garden of Convergence.

Shannon Spanhake created a project called The Garden of Convergence in Tijuana, inviting the community to take part. In an interview, she relates that “the most interesting response [from the community] has been the way vehicles carefully avoid this space, as if the lines on the street have changed – they turn slowly and the passengers peak their heads out to see what it is. And how when pedestrians walk past, they stop to look and ask each other questions. The pothole really changes how people move through the space and their actions while in it.”

Pothole gardeners recognize that their work is fleeting – even more so than most guerrilla gardens, which are often temporary. And while I would worry that planting in the middle of the road would cause serious driver distraction, pothole gardeners have a technique for that, too. They plant bright flowers, which act as a hazard sign, alerting drivers to the potholes.

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