For the past few years, residents in my suburb have been fighting to stop development of a 2.7 hectare area of land on the grounds that it is the last remaining habitat corridor between two creeks. They are asking the Council to buy the land with no plans for its future management.
Yet, if just 5 out of every 10 households in this council ward alone converted an average of 40 square metres of grass to a native garden (my verge garden is 58sqm) it would create more than 27 hectares (10 times as much) of biodiverse habitat and corridors threading through the council ward connecting larger areas of greenspace including private gardens, parks, and those two creeks.
Most house frontages are 20 metres or more.
20m x 2m = 40sqm
15m x 3m = 45sqm
If half of the single households in the Brisbane City Council area did so, it would create more than 600 hectares of biodiverse habitat.
And then you could add the land outside townhouses, schools, businesses and other buildings.
The Australian “long paddock” was the roadsides used by drovers to feed their stock during hard times. These long narrow strips of land added up to millions of hectares.
This modern-day “long paddock” could thread through our suburbs connecting larger areas of parkland and creek creating habitat and biodiversity corridors. All that is possible right now without the need for anyone to buy land or change laws.
My 58 sqm verge has more than 20 different native plant species planted from tubestock or home-propagated. Using native plant tubestock from community nurseries keeps costs low.
Verge gardens also help the Council increase tree canopy to cool the suburbs by improving soil health and rainwater infiltration to help new street trees thrive.
We could start right now – many councils including the Brisbane City Council have policies already in place and, when residents convert their own verges, no funding is required.
The residents would continue to maintain their nature strips or verges as they do now.
We already mow it and it’s right outside our front door.