A Pothole is the Perfect Canvas for This Guerrilla Gardener


When you see a pothole in the middle of your car’s path, you probably feel inclined to grumble and brace yourself for the inevitable impact. Well, one New Yorker has decided to turn her disdain for rough roads into art.

Elaine Santore, burgeoning guerrilla gardener and executive director of the non-profit Umbrella of the Capital District on Broadway, is filling the potholes in Schenectady, New York, with colorful, small gardens.

Santore decided to start filling problematic potholes after noticing that her neighborhood had accumulated quite a few after the snowy winter. Modern Farmer reports that Santore says she’s not “an avid gardener,” but that she does “like to put things in the ground.” Santore’s pothole flower of choice is the pansy, reports The Daily Gazette.

Santore has received a lot of positive feedback concerning her guerrilla gardening handiwork. When passengers in passing cars see what she’s doing, they often smile and wave. So far, the rogue planter has filled approximately 10 potholes.

While Santore’s neighbors seem to be on board with her gardening tactics, the city isn’t deterring her work, either. In fact, since the guerrilla gardener has started her neighborhood beautification project, the city has begun filling more of the street hazards.

Overall, Santore is quite pleased with everyone’s response to her work. The artist is happy that her positive planting act is creating change. “You could go down and complain at city hall. You could call them up and complain,” Santore says to Modern Farmer. “You could walk around with a picket and protest. There are other reasons to need to do that—much bigger issues. But something like this, this is just a simple no-harm way of getting the point across. And I think it worked because people reacted to it.”

What do you think about Santore’s guerrilla gardening project? Would you ever try to plant in potholes in your city?

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Image: Alan Stanton

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.