|The Vie Garden Project in downtown Bellevue - check it out before it's gone! - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
The wonderful thing about outdoor installation art is that one of the ideals behind the overall concept is to have it evolve with its environment. The way colors can look different in the changing light or the artist may intentionally use a material that's meant to weather or break down in the elements -- sometimes change and transformation can be as much a part of art as the original piece itself. With that in mind, it's both brilliant and practical to have an urban garden set up right in the middle of a busy downtown area. Surrounded by concrete and asphalt, the Vie Garden Project is a little pathway lined with PVC pipe towers filled with potting soil and overflowing with vegetables and herbs.
|The art spot where installation pieces come and go - and urban dogs go to piddle - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I found it on a sunset walk one night, heading back to my car, but didn't have my camera with me. I vowed to return with the proper gear and managed to snap several photos of it in its full summer bloom during a hot sunny afternoon. I have to say, aside from the artful appreciation I had for the project, showing how space-savvy these inexpensive planters were, I had much Garden Green Envy! Full tomatoes growing on the vine, squash blooms developing its elongated bulbs of squashy goodness, eggplant starting to fruit up, giant "Feed me, Seymour" Audrey II-looking heads of cabbage just sitting out there -- oh the shade of envious green I turned! And white strawberries -- I didn't even know there were such things, yet there they hung, like little albino droplets on curling vines.
|Summertime garden goods grown from PVC pipe towers! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
So, I managed to get over my sinful envy long enough to finish the photo-taking and just sit back and marvel at such an inspiring project. Planters made from basic hardware items; tall towers with a small footprint in terms of space, making it an easy thing to keep on one's apartment terrace; easy watering without much evaporation loss -- this is a win-win argument for making it easy to grow one's own food, removing the excuses of "I don't have a yard" or "I only have a concrete balcony." With a little effort, anyone could grow their own basic greens to make a salad every week during the warmer months. If anything, I was kind of disappointed it wasn't in a more prominent area where people could marvel at the ease of growing one's own food. Although I think that would have meant passerbys would be snagging a tomato or three, and the point of the project is to grow all this food and donate it to a local food bank. So if you do happen to visit the Vie Garden Project, do as teacher would say back in the field trip days: look with your eyes, not your hands!
It's been a few weeks since I've taken these photos and I'm sure the vegetables look different, but I think that's the point. Gardening is an ongoing process. It changes and as a keeper of a garden, one must shepherd this transformation. Even looking at my own non-envy-worthy garden, I already see signs of fall coming in, plants starting to die out, but also the final push of greens like lettuce and herbs rejoicing at the cooler nights and return of rainy days.
|Green with envy yet? - Photos by Wasabi Prime|