If you are looking for a project to raise the profile of your environmental group as well as awareness of the the need to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, collaborating with the Shady Lanes Projects to plant nature strips in your area is an easy and inexpensive project.
It works on several levels
- you have an shared activity that group members can do even during COVID lockdowns and isolation
- members plant their own nature strip gardens to send a public statement that they care about nature and start conversations in their neighbourhood
- members posting photos of their gardens on your facebook group gives you regular content to share and discuss.
- posting a nature strip listing (like this) on the Shady Lanes website promotes to a wider audience and builds momentum and pathways to collaborations with other groups
- your organisation gets its own page that lists only your member’s posts
Verge gardens have become more common over the past few years but not all fit within the framework of Shady Lanes. Below is the criteria that must be met to meet our shared goals.
- Gardens must comply with the local council guidelines.
- Plants should be predominantly native plants indigenous to the region grown for habitat and soil health.
- The gardens are planted by individual residents or within a locally organised project.
- Residents choose the plants in front of their own houses within council guidelines.
- Street trees are planted and maintained by Councils - roots must not be disturbed and trunks must be clear of mulch or soil buildup.
- Residents are responsible for maintaining the nature strip planting and water new street trees as they become established.
- The gardens remain public property and are not seen as extensions of anyone’s garden.
- This is slow, low-impact gardening for biodiversity - with no herbicides or pesticides.
- All users of that land are considered - particularly pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
- If a complaint is made gardeners and the group must work cooperatively with Council to address the matter.
Indigenous plants are native to the country, and occur naturally in your local area. Your local council or community nursery will be able provide you with information on plants. These plants are more likely to thrive and create better habitat for wildlife. Tubestock plants from community nurseries are an inexpensive way to fill a garden.
Local leaders should plant their own verge first as that will provide practical experience of the social as well as horticultural aspects of verge gardening, and their gardens will provide living examples for others to follow. Having planted yourself also provides greater ability to understand and connect: gardener to gardener, householder to householder, rather than as an expert advisor or advocate to a member of the public.
A directory of Council guidelines is on the Shady Lanes website. Every Council is different but almost universal requirements are that:
- street trees are provided by councils
- residents area responsible for the turf or understory
- residents are permitted to plant low-growing plants (groundcovers and plants less than 30 or 50cm high)
- you must not create hazards for pedestrians and other public users of that space
- you must not plant spiky plants, invasive weeds, potential garden escapees, etc.
- no hard surfaces or raised garden edges
- you must not appropriate public space for private use
We encourage councils to provide simple guidelines as described above. In these council areas residents don’t need a permit as long as they stay within the guidelines.
Some councils require permits and landscape drawings although this creates extra hurdles for residents and doesn’t fit the evolving nature of gardens or the collaborative framework that empowers residents and communities.
Where Do You Start
One or more members planting their own verge first is the first step (and you can do it with while isolating or social distancing)
- Check your council policy (see our directory)
- Ask your council for a street tree if you don’t already have one.
- See these tips for an inexpensive, low maintenance garden
- Get gardening, spend some time watching how people react to it as you go
- Showcase your garden and your experience by posting in our directory
Individual garden listings can choose to be included in more than one organisation. Listings can be edited by the listing owner at any time.