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Nature Strips

These articles are about my own verge garden – the nature strip in front of my house. It is the inspiration and testing ground behind Shady Lanes.

Biophilia – Integrating Nature into our Lives

Does planting out your footpath seem trivial compared to the work of committed environmental and bushcare groups? It depends how you look at it. There is no doubt we need people to group together for both lobbying and practical work on specific issues – saving wetlands, protecting koala habitat, fighting against mining, and so on. […] Read more

.This is not a Photo of a Verge Garden

I often see my photo used as an example of a verge garden, sometimes with permission, often without. Why is this photo so popular? I use this photo on the front page of this website and in presentations, and have a laminated printed version for displays. Reactions are always positive. One Councillor who was not […] Read more

Lessons from the Rain and Flood

Living near the top of a hill meant that our Brisbane house was safe from flooding and the garden was relatively unscathed in the 2022 extreme rain event. The deluge from above combined with sodden soil and runoff from higher properties to create rivers flowing through the garden toward the lowest points – especially the […] Read more

Nature Strips – Biodiversity and Habitat in the Burbs

I started this journey as a verge gardener. I decided I’d had enough of mowing the grass in front of my house. And then the Brisbane City Council changed their rules about planting verge gardens. Westringia is a low-growing native shrub that provides flowers and habitat for bees, small birds and other wildlife. Occasional pruning […] Read more

Maintenance of Verge Gardens

Grass maintenance is easy to do without thinking and easy to outsource. The thousands of mow/edge/blow workers driving around the city are evidence of that. My neighbours’ buzz-men disturb my peace with their noise and fumes during the week.  They work quickly and produce reliably neat results.

Financial Benefits of Verge Gardening

It’s hard to assign monetary values to many of the savings and benefits but here are some suggestions that also show how to maximise the benefits and avoid pitfalls. Costs and Savings for the householder Time – the greatest cost in time is in setting up the garden. In some locations, you can reduce this […] Read more

Feedback from Passers-by

I’ve overheard conversations of people telling young children what the flowers are, seen an elderly lady reaching out to touch the pink cosmos, and I never know whether the missing flowers are the work of the possums or people. Either way, it’s good.

But what about neglected verges?

This is a common question from people who oppose or are unfamiliar with verge gardening. What if they don’t look after it? Well, here are some photos I took of the council-maintained “grass” verge near my bus stop. It’s on a major road with houses backing on to it – which is presumably why council […] Read more

Why your verge should include flowers

Flowers are ambassadors for verge gardens. They help to make people comfortable with the initial disruption to the ubiquity of grass nature strips. Here are two main types of flowers to include on your verge.

Plants on my Brisbane Nature Strip

Like most councils, Brisbane has a list of suggested plants as part of their policy. You can use it as a guide, ask advice from your local community nursery, or look around to see what plants are growing in nearby gardens. If you asked me how many different species I have on the verge I […] Read more

Street Tree has its First Trim

On Friday, the tree people from the council came through our suburb, trimming lower branches off all the street trees to raise the canopy. After some friendly discussion – assuring them that I look after the smaller plants but it’s council’s street tree, planted and maintained by council and the aim is that it grows […] Read more

Street Trees need Verge Gardens too

Lophestomon leaves often droop when dry but this was looking pretty sad. It had begun shedding leaves. The next week, it was even worse after westerly winds dried its leaves.