Recently, an unidentified plant I rescued some four years ago began to flower. I couldn’t recall if it had before, but as the buds grew fuller and more colorful, they began to form purple speckles the like I know I’d never seen on any plant of mine before. With a few minutes of searching online I was able to confirm they were in fact orchids, their exotic variations having long been the subject of novelists, painters, and poets.
This revelation gave me a sudden, unexpected appreciation for the years of greenthumbing I’d practiced in my home. I realized that starting as a small boy, I’d always kept a multitude of plants around. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of gardening in rural Michigan, my mother showing me how to snap open raw pea pods and eat them right off the stalk. In moving out West, it turned out I wasn’t alone.
In Portland, community gardening is as American as apple pie and loaded firearms. Here, the thought of maintaining a grass lawn that could otherwise grow food is frowned upon. And the practice of seed-bombing is just about the most satisfying act of tactical urbanism one can enjoy, whether solo or with a group of comrades. It’s something I’ve done numerous times with friends. Now that a frigid December has locked in and we’re facing potential single-digit overnight lows, I feel a palpable urge to launch seed-packed balls of dirt through the air to their inevitable earthen targets.