On a recent bicycle ride I stumbled upon a little fenced-off lot on Detroit’s far east side. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it. It was a relatively small lot with a basic two railing fence that lined the property on all four sides. The fence was painted green. Within the fenced lot were small, green plants that looked to be nothing more than short stemmed weeds. But, as I soon discovered while peddling alongside of it, there was more to this fenced in lot than what I realized.
There were a series of tall metal rods with various auto parts mounted on the top of them, creating an interesting sculpture of tall grass stems with the parts representing seeds or flowers. The metal rods and parts were painted green, basically matching the fence and green plants growing in the lot. The sculpture pieces were placed close together and had a unique wind chime sound as a gentle breeze blew them into each other. In front of the installation was a sign that read “Green Grass by artist, resident and advocate for the eastside Glenn A. Urquhart”.
Upon a closer look at the site, I saw another sign that identified the grass within the fenced lot. To my surprise the little plants were more than weeds. According to the site sign, they are called pennycress. I understand the annual plant is being grown for its seeds that are being developed as a biodiesel. This little lot and the plants that are planted there are a small step toward biofuels that can have a huge impact on future generations.
In addition to the Green Grass sculpture and the pennycress plants, there’s a nice little landscaped garden in a small section along the street. It incorporates a rock garden and a separate small plant garden that was full of plants when I was there.
I don’t know anything more about this lot or who is responsible for it, but it’s a positive, yet small step in a large puzzle of urban renewal in Detroit. Kudos to those responsible for pulling this all together.