My walks through idyllic summer Basel revealed small-city plants around every corner, such as the tomatoes and herbs inhabiting a planter that mirrors the form of an adjacent bench on a traffic-calmed side street in Kleinbasel. Urban gardening has certainly arrived in Switzerland, or perhaps more accurately, is spreading out from its established territory of back- and front yards and claiming new spaces!
Let’s take a closer look at the shopping cart garden from the first post. I spotted two of these on the same street shown above, both hung with a sign reading “Children,” I’m guessing in the sense of “Slow down, children at play.”
Each shopping card was lined in heavy material and filled with soil, herbs, vegetables and more.
A peek beneath the purple basil and healthy rainbow chard revealed a tiny, colorful garden gnome. I never thought too hard about whether Swiss chard was really invented by the Swiss, as Brussels sprouts were by the Belgians. At least, it seems popular here.
Around the corner, I found background information on the shopping carts. Parked in front of the Stadtquartier Sekretariat, an office for community information and activities, was another shopping cart garden with a few plants and two signs.
On the right, we read that the shopping carts are a project from a 25-year-old woman to promote urban gardening and are called “keinkaufwagens,” a play on the word “Einkaufwagen” (shopping cart) that means No-Purchase-Carts. The sign on the left is a letter from this “keinkaufswagen” addressed “Dear Thief” sarcastically thanking an anonymous person for at least leaving one tomato plant after stealing most of the herbs and vegetable plants. The “keinfkaufswagen” says, however, that it will not be daunted from providing some green in the gray of the city!
Next time: guess what the local Italian restaurant in Basel has growing in their sidewalk garden?