It doesn’t happen often but Thursday I had a day all to myself. The children were at their crèche-day, my wife was earning the money that I was most joyously spending on coffee, ice-cream and beer and even the evening meal was ready since the thought of cooking on a 40 degree day just doesn’t compute. So this day was spent in my favourite mode which is random wandering.
It’s with this tip of the hat to randomness that I meet the Gardenfairy as she was mulching the garden. Normally wandering into someones garden might be seen as a little intrusive but this is not such an issue when the garden is a wide nature strip on the side of busy Queens parade. This garden was (according to www.tramstop22.blogspot.com.au) created, let’s call it with moral legality, by local residents whilst a block of townhouses devoid of communal spaces were built. The garden now boasts established trees, lushly growing greens and a host of fruits and vegies. Some of it is clearly organised, like the permaculture inspired layout and living fence woven with cuttings. On the other hand some of it has developed from the potential for something green, living and different to inspire others into action. This has included effort to help with watering, plants that have just ‘appeared’ and even statues including a frequently relocating bunny. Today we visited their ‘pop-up food swap and taste tour’ where people were encouraged to come and swap excess food or just try a couple of garden treats like sorrel or nasturtium flowers.
This place is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by a bunch of interested neighbours and will further enthuse our plans for a nature strip blitz in our street. Yarra council (where this garden is located) have embraced this and produced a set of guidelines for how residents can do this sort of thing (http://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/Environment/Community-gardens/#guidelines) and even employed an urban agriculture facilitator. Our council is a little behind but has put out a draft plan that has given us a starting point to plan things out. It’s not for everyone but if this sort of thing appeals to you, ask your local council and see what they can do to help you because nothing brings a community together like a shared space (especially if there’s food involved!)