Over at Toronto Gardens, one of my favourite blogs, the topic this week is Hidden Gardens: Toronto's Alleyways. It's all about the wonderful wildflowers and weeds one encounters when trekking through the back lanes of Toronto neighbourhoods. It made me immediately nostalgic for summer and my own laneway garden. I call it my laneway garden but, truth be told, it has nothing to do with me other than it sprouted next to my laneway parking spot. The "garden" is comprised of an enormous stand of goldenrod (which apparently has no problem growing in gravel) and an even more enormous bittersweet nightshade vine, an invasive and poisonous weed that grows far and wide.
I've tried to grow ornamentals in the lane only to be met with failure. The conditions, invariably, prove too harsh. And it doesn't help when drivers drive over my would-be garden. But let nature take its course and it is amazing what can happen. The nightshade vine dripping with red berries is quite the site to behold. The vine had been growing for several years already when this picture was taken.
The berries even added a splash of dramatic colour in the dead of winter. Alas, this garden is no more. While the goldenrod is more than welcome to stay, I removed the nightshade vine this fall. It was getting a little (okay, a lot) out of control, creeping into the neighbours' eavestroughs and under some of their garage roof shingles. I also felt a little guilty for allowing a plant with such a nasty nature to thrive for so long simply by neglecting to weed the laneway area. I'm glad the vine is gone...but it sure was beautiful while it lasted.