A flower grows in Saint Paul

There’s a new park being born in downtown Saint Paul before our eyes.

It takes a lot of imagination and skill to see this…

Photo: University of St. Thomas

And envision this…

Graphic: City of Saint Paul

The city wanted to make a permanent park out of the site of the former Pedro Luggage on Robert Street, but there are some buildings that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So, MPR’s Curtis Gilbert reported last month, a group of University of St. Thomas students is going to make it a temporary urban garden — a pinwheel of flowers.

The mural was done a few weeks ago. This week they’ve started on the grounds.

Photo: Bob Collins

There’s science going on here. Biology professor Adam Kay says last year his students planted flowers in a small plot to see how they take up nutrients.

This year they’re going big.

“Last year we planted monocultures (one plant species per plot) and eight-species plots, then analyzed how they uptake nutrients. With this project, we’re taking it a step further and focusing on heavy metal (lead, arsenic and cadmium, among others) uptake. So we’re taking what we learned last year and applying it to a contaminated lot,” senior Elizabeth Chambers told the UST news service.

Once completed, their work should be around for about two years.

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