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Kitsch Garden

A garden, or pseudo-garden undertaken to amuse.

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The Rise and Fall of the Kitsch Garden

  • Aug 29, 2009
  • by
In several Montreal neighborhoods, people have begun to plant flowers around the street trees. Looks very nice, and probably is good for the tree, since a wilting flower is often more successful in crying out for water than a tree is.

But as far as I know, this kitschy little plot near Jean Talon Market is unique. It grew over the last couple of years, nurtured by the people who were featured in last week's post, I think, as it is just outside their doorstep. I'd also guess that passerbys added contributions frequently. It always made me laugh.

You'll notice that I use the past tense. When I went by on Wednesday everything except some tattered plastic flowers and the day lily leaves had been torn up. I'd love to know the story. Did some city official decide it was unseemly? Did the folks who started it get tired of it? Or did the people with the nice little pocket garden have nothing to do with it, and pulled it up as an afront to their own carefully cared for space?

I'm also reminded of those monuments to kitsch, the Watts Towers which were ridiculed for years, and now are considered an amazing example of folk art. 

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September 06, 2009
Actually, we've got another two and a half months before the snow flies (people actually ride bicycles to work until then.) But a friend tells me that there now is a fancy little metal fence around the space, so maybe it's just a matter of changing the decor. I'll go by soon and see what's happening.
September 07, 2009
oh yay! post pics if they put the garden back up :) speaking of bicycling, when I lived in Boston, people were biking the day after a huge snowstorm we had on April 1. Like 3 feet of snow!!! Very little road to share because of the snowbanks :P
September 06, 2009
When I saw this review title, I immediately thought of my college friend's collection of garden gnome pictures taken in Germany, where she now lives. It reminds me of the memorials that people put up near places where people have died, but with a much happier purpose. An alternate explanation is that the items were removed to save them from getting ruined in the harsh Montreal winter??
September 01, 2009
Oooh, good to know that these odd little street gardens have a name!  I've actually seen quite a few of these in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco and they always seem to be there.  I think the people who live there and/or the store owners probably tend to them, and thankfully, the city of San Francisco doesn't seem to mind to much, plus it adds to the odd culture of the city :)
More Kitsch Gardens reviews
Quick Tip by . September 01, 2009
I've seen these all over San Francisco! So fun to look at and try to figure out. Makes me wonder about the story behind it...
About the reviewer
Mary Soderstrom is a Montreal-based writer of fiction and non-fiction. Her new collection of short stories, Desire Lines: Stories of Love and Geography, will be published by Oberon Press in November, … more
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Kitsch garden are pseudo-gardens that spring up in urban urban environments, like on city sidewalks.
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