Old piano covered with living plants


This old piano, exploding with ivy and potted flowers, stands on a sidewalk in Brighton and Hove, UK. A passing urban plant aficionado shared it with us, asking to remain unnamed. Thank you, friend!

Sharp leaves poking through a wooden fence.


This fenced-in plant “looks like it wants to escape its enclosure,” writes Megan Mock, who wrote in response to our post on a banana tree invading a bathroom.

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Orchid with roots completing wrapping a palm tree

So this is what can happen when orchids aren’t confined to a pot. At the home where I recently stayed in Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, the palm tree in the front yard was completely wrapped in the roots of these orchid plants.

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Slatted wooden window with large green leaf poking in from the outside.

A large green organism reached through a bathroom window in Kauai today, startling Urban Plant Research contributor Marko Förstel. The scientist, who is visiting Kauai for an academic conference, quickly snapped a picture to share with us. Further inspection revealed that the green being was a banana tree. Thank you, Marko, for sharing this cheeky Kauai resident. Bathroom visitors, beware!

Display of handmade cutting boards made of salvaged Hawaiian hardwood, by Foundwood

Amazing how much you can learn about mango trees at the Kaka‘ako Farmers Market here in Honolulu. While vegetable shopping this morning, I stopped to chat with Jen Homcy about Foundwood, her woodworking company that creates cutting boards out of reclaimed local hardwood. She took the time to share some knowledge about the wood she uses, including how the curl gets in the curly mango.

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Many agave blossoms towering over home garden in Kaimuki, Honolulu, Hawaii.

All over Honolulu, the Dr. Seuss-esque towers of agave flowers have been catching my eye. The spiky, seafoam-green plants are popular for home gardens here. A little research on Wikipedia suggests that this is the Mexican species Agave attenuata, which, thanks to the shape of its inflorescence, is also called foxtail, lion’s tail or swan’s neck. It is a different species that is used for tequila, the blue agave, also know as, what else, Agave tequilana.

Many discarded Christmas trees lined up along the curb.

“How did my seven-unit building produce ten dumped trees? Don’t ‘miracle of Christmas’ me, Brooklyn, you’ve got some explaining to do,” says playwright and keen-eyed New Yorker Mike Lew.

Any theories?


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