planting poetry in urban nature spots of Ottawa

It was in May when I joined Christine Turnbull of Rout/e poetry to help her planted the poems in some wilder spots of the city with her friend Grant Wilkens (The Grunge Papers).  It was great to meet Grant who was going to be creating beautiful handmade paper and doing the press work for the cover of the print run for CSArt Ottawa.  I haven't had the chance to post about our poetry planting day and have now finally gotten out to see if the poetry is still there months later.  So I thought I should first showcase our day out in May!

We met up mid-morning on a Saturday enjoying a mostly grey day as the rain held off up until our last site visit in the west of the city.  We had toured some of the green spaces before and some were just discussed and decided upon that day in the spur of the moment.  We want to have some close to the location where the CSArt poetry reading was going to take place so that CSArt members could go on a short walk to see some of the poems also and the rest would be intentionally spread out around the city.

Montfort Woods - This is a small woods along the Aviation parkway that is carpeted with Trout Lily and Trilliums in the spring - we planted the poem in a ring of Periwinkle at the top of the loop path behind the Montfort hospital.  (We also found salamanders here!)

Sandy Hill bike trail between Adawe Crossing and the Queensway - There is a pathway on both sides of the river here providing both Overbrook and Sandy Hill wonderful opportunities to connect with the water and nature.  I enjoy this spot where you can see ducks raising their young and the occasional beaver swim by.  The poem was planted close to the water just below the trail.

Uplands greenspace  - This spot was such a delight to discover and explore.  I had first visited one late autumn weekend when I just needed to get out of the house.  The next spring I went back with Vil and we enjoyed walking through the same spot but in a different season.  It's a large green space with differing habitats including open fields, scrubland, a small woods, some tree tunnels where the paths meander through shrubby areas and some spots of exposed bedrock.

Fairmont Park - This neighbourhood park has charmed me ever since I heard about the guerilla (or should I say dog!) sculpture art and gardens spilling beyond private yards.  Beyond scouting out the handful of canine sculptures, there's also a small path that meanders up the fault line where city kids play and make forts.  We found Elderberry among the newly leafed trees.

Reid Park - Close to Fairmont, this is a smaller almost forgotten park with a neglected park house and a nice large piece of lawn surrounded by large trees.  It has a hilly edge along the Queensway and we tucked a poem up in this elevated spot finding a hidden guerrilla community garden beyond a chain linked fence while we were there.

Carlington Heights Reservoire - The sign says "Enter at your own risk!" but it's definitely worth it.  This reservoire is a popular spot for dog walkers and offers super views of Gatineau Hills.  I hear the sunsets are good from here also.  This elevated spot is surrounded by wildflowers to the north, a baseball field to the east and a quarry pit to the west.  Along the south edge of the reservoire is a small wooded area where you may spot an owl or two especially during migration. 

Andrew Haydon Park - This was our final stop of the day and where the rain caught up with us.  We were able to see the remnants of the flooding (a definite line of twigs, plastic and other residue that was left by the receding waters) and where I enjoyed my first sighting of goslings for this year.  A grey view over the water but still good to be out in the fresh air and taking it all in!

You can learn more about the poets that participated in this chap book - outdoor planting and find a map of the actual locations where the poems were set in May over at the Rout/e website.  Chris also has a great post about the entire project and how it came to fruition with CSArt Ottawa here.

So which poems do you think have survived and what do these areas look like mid-summer?  Here's the update to this series: Revisit of Poems Planted in August!

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