06 August 2013

Community gardening by the Danube

Urban guerilla gardening? New kind of street art? Community gardening which uses every free square inch? Or maybe a civil movement to draw attention to the decaying Budapest embankments? Who planted vegetables under the Elizabeth bridge?

One can often find unseemly plants on the floodplains. For example there are many flowers in the Szigetköz washed downd from the Alps by the Danube. Such strange and unseemly plants have I found under the Elizabeth bridge in Budapest, downstream the Ördögárok sewers mouth. Delightful little vegetable garden arose from the steps of the Danube embankment, dozens of tomato plants are growing here. Besides tomato, you may find melon and pumpkin plants there, which stolons slowly owergrow the stones. This small garden is situated in the middle of the tilt, by line and level. As if they were planted by some kind of general plan. As if they were planted by bored seniors.

Blooming tomato

Juvenile melon

Tomato growing from stone

But this is nothing of the sort. Thes seeds were not planted by humans, but the Danube in times of the last great flood. Where did the seeds come from? Probably from the neraby Ördögárok, which was a creek earlier, now functioning as a city sewer. Pumpkin seeds leftovers from watching matches, rotten tomato let down the drain, cored cold melon seeds from nearby picknickers. I looked for sunflowers as well, but seemingly nobody spitted sunflowers seeds during the flood in Buda. From the stinky Ördögárok the river waves washed the seeds into the gaps of the embankment, where - just like at the river Nile - the fertile silt accumulated. Not earlier than the middle of June the seeds shot up on this organic alluvium, and by the beginning of August some of them already is in bloom. It seems like not only humans can make gardens: the Danube has built a community garden on his own. If the recent draught wont last for long, in september we will be able to harvest these vegetables under the Elizabeth bridge!

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