The site of a former luggage retailer has been planted with flowers and will bloom this summer as the Urban Flower Field, a soil remediation experiment by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department that also will beautify a drab block in downtown St. Paul.
The gardens, located at Pedro Park at 10th and Robert streets, will officially open June 28 with a free community event.
The project design was led by parks staffers and Amanda Lovelee, Public Art St. Paul’s artist in residence, who worked with others to plant 96 bio-diverse plots of flowers. Researchers from the University of St. Thomas will use the plots to test whether more diverse plots can take harmful substances from the soil.
The plots are arranged to create walking paths and an area for neighbors to gather for events. An orange and yellow mural by Ed Charbonneau has gone up behind the field on the Public Safety Building annex.
Adam Kay, a St. Thomas environmental sciences professor, is overseeing the students planting and tending the gardens, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design has offered two student interns to help. For more information about the project, go to www.publicartstpaul.org/urbanflowerfield/.