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The Mysterious Sidewalk Wildflower Gardens of Brooklyn

cornflowers and rose mallow in a sidewalk garden
Cornflowers, Rose Mallow & more light up a sidewalk garden.
wildflower garden in a park
People in the park & a little dog enjoy the surprise garden.
rose mallow scarlet flax and blue cornflower in a sidewalk garden in brooklyn.
Rose Mallow, Scarlet Flax & Blue Cornflower brighten the sidewalk scene.

Who's planting these flowers? How did they get here? You hear people ask these questions as they walk along the streets of Park Slope, a famous neighborhood in Brooklyn in NY City.

We know. It's all being done in secret by one of our members, who shall remain anonymous. Here's why. She's one of New York City's "Guerilla Gardeners"—a loosely formed group that works to try to brighten the city landscapes, even in some of the grittiest neighborhoods. She explained that the Guerilla Gardeners don't always follow all the city's rules, but they do always add color and beauty to the urban scene! She asked us to donate some seeds, we were happy to, and just look what she's done—all in secret!

By the way, Park Slope is one of New York's most historic neighborhoods, famous for old brownstones, and the proximity of Prospect Park, Flatbush Avenue, and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

wildlflowers outside a brownstone
Wildflowers burst into bloom outside a neglected brownstone.
annual wildflower garden
With no care wildflowers bloom where the Guerilla Gardener sows them.
poppies catchfly and black eyed susan
CA Poppies, Catchfly & a triumphant Black Eyed Susan bloom on their own.

Here's the whole story about her Guerilla Gardening, in her own words:

Dear American Meadows:

I wanted to send you photos of some of the spots that worked out from the Guerrilla Gardening activity I did with the seeds you sent me. I could not be more pleased.

I wanted wildflowers for several reasons. First, few people here see any form of plants, much less natural ones, that can grow without intensive care.

Second, they are in places where I cannot water them, and I doubt they will ever get more care then what the sky provides so I wanted something that could thrive, hence wildflowers.

Using seeds was critical since it is illegal to plant on public space so when I am out walking my dog I can easily carry a ziploc baggie of seeds and just sprinkle as we go.

It was really rewarding monitoring the progress of the different plots and hearing the compliments after almost a year of waiting! I have never made an attempt at pointing out that I planted them, but that doesn't mean I can't smile when I hear somebody mention what a good idea it is to plant flowers instead of boring ivy for once!

I believe the mix you donated was the All-Annual favorites. I can see why ; ) I think they look stunning. In my pictures, the barren area is an example of a spot that I did not seed and more typical of my neighborhood. Some are taken outside a brownstone that has been very neglected over the years and usually is void of anything but a scattered weed.

Others show where I scattered seeds along a new park area.

Please let me know if you guys would be interested in donating again, and I will start planning. Thank you so much for your generosity.

The Guerilla Wildflower Gardener of Park Slopes (anon.)