If you want flowers in the winter in NEO, go to the Flats

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 11/25/2007 - 15:53.

Sunflowers in Cleveland Flats

Having promised to Susan I would bring more angels and sunshine to REALNEO, I set out today to find flowers, in Cleveland, in the end of November, after first snowfall... so I sought harsh conditions where survival in winter was nothing compared to surviving in day to day environmental crisis... the Flats. It didn't take long to come across some strapping sunflower-looking blossoms still holding the hopes of life at the end of an especially toxic year.

Sunflowers Cleveland Flats Bioremediation

The site - today's header (full sze here) - is under the decaying I-90 Innerbelt bridge over the Cuyahoga River - a place of great manmade waste and stupidity - in a mound of rocks, bricks and assorted toxic bridge debris, likely including lead from decades of falling dust - which makes sunflowers especially valuable, as they are found to extract toxins like lead from soil - a concept called bioremediation we need to discuss here much more.

Cleveland Flats Sunflower Bioremediation Site

In enjoying this last glimpse of Summer 2007, in NEO, I suggest one way we the people of NEO can make 2008 a better time in a better place... guerilla bioremediation. 1,000,000s of sunflowers growing all over the toxic fields and yards of NEO would send a powerful message to all people near and far, educate all ages, beautify, and help restore our ecosystem.

The only issue is what to do wth the 1,000,000s of lead contaminated sunflowers at the end of the season. Solutions?

Other bioremediation crops and strategies?

Interest in doing some guerilla gardening here?

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virginia creeper on chainlink

Andrew Watterson when asked about growing vines (native and vigorous Virginia Creeper and local Grape and beautiful bird feeding Trumpet Vine) on local chain link fences suggested not asking but just planting them. However the young plants might require a bit of attention and might also have to be protected from mowers and well meaning gardeners hired by the state or county or private investors. For instance, there is a lovely spray of Virginia Creeper along the fence on the lake side of rt2 after you cross the Main Ave Bridge, but it disappears just as the fence becomes the H2O Dept fence protecting Garret Morgan. He said they would cut down anything trying to grow there because of National Security. Whatever!

These flowers are lovely. Thank you! I have ones like it still blooming in the hail in my back garden. They are rudbeckia though and as far as I know not related to sunflowers. Purdue has tested them for Cadmium extraction, but not for lead that I can tell. Maybe someone else can tell us if the various sprays of Black-eyed Susans around town most planted by Parkworks are doing good for our lead laden soils. ZM?

I'm sure there is plenty of cadmium there

Rudbeckia and sunflowers welcome... free cadmium and lead for all. I agree we should just do it but should do it where the effort will live out a growing and reclamation cycle... the more the better. I need to talk to Mayor Brewer and the development folks in East Cleveland about my greywater system and putting a wood-burner in East Cleveland so I'll see how we may designate some bioremediation belts in East Cleveland... along all the rail lines would be a good, toxic, low traffic focus area... and there are lots of cleared landbank properties in mothballs that need a low maintenance, good for the environment maintenance strategy. Annie Stahlheber with the Cuyahoga County Health Department would know some great places to plant as well, and EC Planning Director Angela Bennet is very green and progressive and will be very supportive. But the city doesn't have resources to do this themselves... they can apply for grants and gov. funds.

Disrupt IT