Elm Seedy

Elm Seedy

“Flowers don’t bloom or bushes berry for our admiration.”—Sara Stein, Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards (1993)

In other words, plants have their own agendas. If you’re a plant, displaying a flower attracts insects and birds to help you create new seeds and spread your genes. A tasty berry, meanwhile, gets animals, humans included, to ingest your seeds directly and spread them around the landscape.

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Legacy Planning - The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

Some New Haveners still disperse seeds, just a whole lot more deliberately than their ancestors did. They do it in tiny community garden plots and yards, and they do it with seeds that come in labeled paper packets.

Add trees and vines to Stein’s flowers and bushes, and general fruiting to her blooming and berrying, and we begin to address the particulars of New Haven in September. Whereas flowers are the Elm City’s spring headliners, fruits command top billing in autumn. Many will be at their tastiest in a month or two, but their aesthetic pleasures are already here.

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Growing among earthy pockets of the city, you can find red and green apples and green and brown pears, plus orange and red peaches. You can find non-standard tree fruits like the geodesic cornus kousa berry, which grows to about the size of a foosball and turns a fluorescent red as it ripens. You can also find fruits commonly mistaken for vegetables, like squashes, eggplants and tomatoes.

Here’s what we found and where, with corresponding photos in the slider above:

• State Street median, at Grove Street: cornus kousa (images 1, 10).
Bethesda Lutheran Church: pears (2), eggplants and tomatoes.
Field of Greens community farm: apples, peaches, eggplants (3) and tomatoes.
Grand Acres community garden: apples (4) and tomatoes (7).
Yale Farm: apples (5).
• Next to Yale Farm, near Farnam Memorial Gardens: apples (6)—a whole grove of them.
Phoenix Press Farm: squashes (8), tomatoes and tomatillos.
• Residences at 46 and 50 Redfield Street: apples and peaches (9).
Edgerton Community Garden: apples, pears and tomatoes (11).

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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