Growing in the gaps between curbs and sidewalks and between the sidewalk and the home on the corner of Monroe and Crooks, Showy Sunflowers have now formed a tall, flowery wall around that home.
I noticed this unseemly outbreak of prairie plants late last summer. I’m pretty surprised that the City, in its vigilance against vagrants of all kinds, has not spotted these sunflowers erupting out of the cement and doused them with a shower of round-up. Though they’re not a traffic hazard (I turn right there almost every morning), they might be a danger to children. Children on the way to school might be walking or biking beneath and between them, and since the profusion of small sunflowers is also a grocery store for bees, the bees might not look upon these innocent interlopers kindly. And sting them. Still, I have seen no children on that side of the street: it could be that the kids know the crossing guard works the other corner of Monroe and Crooks and head for him instead; it could be that kids have already had an unpleasant encounter with pollinators there and avoid it. One complaint to the City about bees, and those sunflowers will be gone.
So every time I see those sunflowers in the city, I feel their days are numbered, I dread their inevitable demise. They have made such a thick and healthy prairie presence, but should the City’s aesthetic police spy this unsightly prairie on the Corner of Monroe and Crooks, it would be most certainly be regarded as a setback to the City’s effort to dress Monroe Street in more formal attire. What’s not to like about the improvements: the red-brick, color painted on the cross walks and the faux, wrought-iron lamp posts which remind one of gaslights in London, but which have no glass panes and no gas flame and not even a fake flame bulb but an incongruous square of LEDs emitting a white electric light. I know I should be singing the praises of urban order and beauty, but it’s the prairie on the corner of Monroe and Crooks that is truly lovely. So don’t tell anyone about those sunflowers. And especially don’t say a word that one has now bloomed on the other side of the street in the gap between the curb and the sidewalk. Though the Showy Sunflower root system is one of the ways it spreads, I doubt the roots have reached all the way under four lanes of traffic. The Squirrel, I’m sure, is responsible for this act of civic chaos.