Properties: J. Anthony Florist, Michigan Avenue; October Moon, Grand River Avenue, Lansing

Lansing’s Jon Anthony Florist and October Moon make good use of plants to brighten up and give beauty to their businesses without giving up the advantages of a metropolitan location. A well cared for sidewalk garden can make the urban environment more delightful by adding curb appeal, mitigating heat island effect (when urban areas become hotter because of all the paved and nonporous surfaces), and reducing blight.

Sidewalk gardening is all about utilizing space and context wisely to beautify your business, as well as the neighborhood. October Moons lush and eclectic sidewalk foliage is composed of individual containers of herbs and flowers arranged in an informal fashion, which fits Old Town’s character. J. Anthony Florist utilizes raised flowerbeds, which allow vines to lavishly decorate the faade while keeping the sidewalk tidy in its more formal setting on Michigan Avenue.

A lesson on container gardening by Harrell-Seyburn:

Container gardening is ideal for urban settings, especially sidewalk gardening. Container gardening allows urban dwellers with a tiny yard, porch or balcony, or at least a south-facing window, to grow beautiful plants. The following are a few tips to get you started on your container garden.

1. Any container will do that can hold moisture, control soil and allow for drainage. Be creative with your containers. Visit a local antique store or resale shop for vintage style containers that are are eclectic and add character to your home.

2. Don't limit your garden to house plants. Not only can you grow your own food in containers but vegetable plants or herbs are incredibly beautiful. They add variety and whimsy to your garden. Vegetables and herbs are a bonus because you can save time and money while enjoying fresh produce daily.

3. Before you commit yourself to a garden, make sure that you have the time and passion to care for it. Plants require watering and fertilizing on a regular basis to thrive. It is important to take good care of your container garden especially if is in a public location such as a sidewalk. Without good care a well-intentioned garden can quickly become an overgrown and litter-filled habitat for unsavory rodents.

4. Consider taking a gardening course at a local nursery or contact the Allen Street Neighborhood Center to learn about caring for your container garden, including the types of flowers and vegetables that grow best in containers.

Remember the small gesture of planting a sidewalk garden beautifies underutilized space and instills pride in the community. Consider planting your own sidewalk garden today.

“Eye candy of the Week" is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail or call Neal McNamara at 371-5600 ex. 17.