I compulsively grow plants, epecially vegetables, fruit and nut trees, and anything exotic I can find discarded in the dumpsters of hardware stores, nurseries, and bourgy grocery stores (Trader Joe's has a penchant for throwing out beautiful orchids that have many years of life left in them).

Right now I'm growing mostly figs and avocadoes. The figs are cuttings that I've rooted over the winter in my sunny southeast facing kitchen window. The avocados are sprouted from pits that were thrown away by a nearby restaurant that uses them to make salads.

This is an avocado and pineapple. The pineapple is still just rooting.

I've also got a humungous cherry tomato plant growing on my little balcony. The tomato bush came my way be a magical butterfly. She flew in from the west and planted it in rich compost. It's been doing very well ever since.

I find it amazing how much life can grow in such a small place with such little care. I only spend about 1 hour total a week caring for these plants. As soon as I find a sunny protected place where I can plant them in the ground I'll begin another set of cuttings and seeds. The problem here is land, ownership, and mainstream priorities. There are few houses in Uptown New Orleans where you'll find a serious vegetable garden or orchard. Edible plants in general are far between.

There are papayas and bananas commonly planted about. The bananas don't fruit as well because of the climate here (too cold in the winter), but mostly because people aren't serious about tending to them. Figs are not common enough. There are some major trees hidden upriver of Canal Street, in Irish Channel, Touro, Bouligny, Audubon, Leonides neighborhoods. There could easily be hundreds more. Most of the lush gardens of the Uptown are filled with nonedible flowers, vines, tropical plants, and this is all shaded over by massive live oaks. I can imagine a very different New Orleans, one filled with fruit trees and gardens, little to no asphalt covering the earth. People who own property in our society need to get their heads straight. We need fewer concrete slabs, fewer rose gardens, and more edible landscapes. Don't get me wrong, I love a good rose garden, but can't we have a guava garden instead?