Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder…we can start big or small with our own lot, but be inspired by those that do it in a BIG way…

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There are signs throughout this 5 acre former industrial site that explain how they converted in a green way...
There are signs throughout this 5 acre former industrial site that explain how they converted in a green way…

I was at a Christmas party a year ago, and a man involved in an “urban renewal site” was at this gathering, I surprised him when I told him that I thought the Native Gardens at a former urban area were beautiful.

This is one section that sits near the bike path and on the Mississippi River between Moline + Rock Island
This is one section that sits near the bike path and on the Mississippi River between Moline + Rock Island

He told me, “You are one of the few people who thought what we did at this sight was a good thing.” I was dumbfounded. I guess “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”…

Wonderful native plants fill this site..blooming through all the seasons...
Wonderful native plants fill this site..blooming through all the seasons…

I love sculpture! This site is a combination of native plantings, former urban decay, working with nature all on a five acre site that is part of the Great River Recreational Trail.

Interesting insects, birds, flowers and natural beauty abound in this area...
Interesting insects, birds, flowers and natural beauty abound in this area…

My husband and I often hike down by the Mississippi River, and this area has always been a place that I could get lost in for hours.

They created a courtyard wiht native trees and plants...
They created a courtyard with native trees and plants…

This past Sunday we spent several hours just walking around shooting pictures of the natural beauty they have created at this site.

I leave seedheads on my plants for wildlife during the winter...
I leave seed heads on my plants for wildlife during the winter…

This area is 5 acres of beautiful natural plantings that change with the season. We plan on returning to shoot some more pictures since we were only able to focus on one section. We have a lot more to explore!

Great River Bike Trail runs right by this former urban blight...entire trail runs 60 miles along the Mississippi River...
Great River Bike Trail runs right by this former urban blight…it runs 60 miles along the Mississippi River…

After our visit to this site, my friend called and asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride on the river. It was a perfect day that I just jumped at the chance to ride the Mississippi River on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I ride the Mississippi as often as I can it is such a magnificent waterway…..

A native aster filled with bees next to a former building...
A native aster filled with bees next to a former building…

I believe we need to start paying attention to the areas around our cities….the first place we all can start is on our own city lot…

There is always something blooming for pollinators...
There is always something blooming for pollinators…

We tend to forget that there are animals and pollinators that can benefit from taking an urban wasteland like this and turning it into a place for wildlife to return. There is no reason for it to sit as a “blight” on the landscape of our city…..

I ride my bike by this weekly and notice all the beautiful changes from spring to winter....
I ride my bike by this weekly and notice all the beautiful changes from spring to winter….

This time of year the flowers are all turning to seed, but there are a few falls blooming natives that paint the landscape..

just as one finishes blooming another replaces it in this natural setting...
just as one finishes blooming another replaces it in this natural setting…

You can see all the bees buzzing, birds flying, and nature returning to this area the way it was meant to be…the only evidence of its former use is the urban sculptures that are left to remind us of days gone by….

We need to incorporate native plants through our own landscapes while we grow more food in the city...
We need to incorporate native plants through our own landscapes while we grow more food in the city…

I find natural urban sculpture engaging, but I have a tendency to see “sublime” in what others might find “ugly”…isn’t that the sign of a creative soul? I sure hope so…I feel blessed that I  see “beauty” in what others might see as a waste of time…..