The willing gardeners of my neighborhood have made short work of turning the mangy traffic circle on my street into a thriving garden. We covered the grass with newspaper six sheets thick (no light, grass dies) and we covered the newspaper with compost and mulch to hold it down. Today, three years later, the circle is almost full with perennials and bulbs. All very cool, but all this time there was an eyesore smack in the center of the circle, a big, grey utility box bolted to a telephone pole. That changed this week. The graphics guys from Beeline and Blue, a local shop that makes big vinyl graphics for delivery vans and city buses, covered the box with blowups of four garden photographs. You can see the results
over at "Garden in the Street." Take a look, please, and say what you think. Would your neighborhood look more lively and attractive if the utility boxes looked like art?
Des Moines has a public art foundation that promotes and helps pay for art in public places. The foundation paid part of the cost of wrapping the box, the neighborhood paid the rest, and Beeline and Blue gave us a discount. The foundation has in mind wrapping more boxes around Des Moines. I'm thinking that just a few more will spark a lot more. We'll see.
I'm happy about the change. The box now tells all passersby that there's something special going on in the traffic circle. Cars will slow down, joggers will detour.
I'm also happy because the photographs are mine. I take very, very close-up photos of garden plants, so close they look like abstract art. Thanks to the former eyesore, four of them are now great, big prints. A new experience for me and I'm thrilled. You can see more of these abstract garden photographs here.