Keeping the tomatoes safe from the birds & other insects. This is just one of the many raised garden beds on the verge in a street in Stanmore

I have never recommended a TV program before, but Gardening Australia with the new host Costa Georgiadis is one I highly recommend.  Episode 1 has a dramatic beginning where Costa speaks out his beliefs.  With the help of television & his inimitable personality, the message is beautiful & literally drips with positivity – each & every one of us can do something to make the planet a better place.

He also started a verge garden outside his house that involves the residents of his street.  The soil is sandy so Costa shows how to employ a layering method that will improve the soil allowing natives, vegetables, herbs & other beneficial plants to be able to grow.

This is a gorgeous verge garden near the Enmore Pool. Photo by Anna Keohan with thanks.

I have friends who are watching The Biggest Loser to help them keep motivated for their own weight loss fitness program.  Wouldn’t it be nice if many in Marrickville LGA (& across Australia) were motivated in the same way by Gardening Australia to do something with the verge.  The streetscapes would become greener, prettier & all that land could become useful.  Biodiversity would improve & urban wildlife would also benefit immensely.

On a personal note, removing most of the grass & planting trees, natives & bee-attracting flowering plants has transformed our own verge from a place where people used to dump their unwanted rubbish to a place where everyone says they love.  People often stop & ask how we got Council to do this & become amazed that this was self-initiated & that they can do the same.  From not having many birds living close, we now have an area that is busy with many different species of birds.  This makes our home nicer & the bird song screens traffic with white noise.

The September 2010 Eco Edition of Marrickville Matters said Council was starting up Groundwork, a grassroots sustainability project where people will be taught various gardening techniques & “designing, installing & maintaining gardens – especially non-traditional ones like on verges & roofs.”  I haven’t been able to find any more information on this other than an annual grant scheme.  You can apply for a grant for your verge garden or do what we did & just start gardening without the financial help of Council. http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/community/council_grants/sustainability.html?s=0

I haven’t been able to find any guidelines for verge gardens from Marrickville Council so here is one from City of South Perth that has some great information – http://www.southperth.wa.gov.au/Documents/Services/Verges/Street-Verge-Landscape-Guidelines.pdf

Another place with extremely comprehensive information about all sorts of issues surrounding verge gardens, including examples of growing in a concrete landscape, is the Australian City Farms & Community Network. Pretty much everything you need to consider & be aware of regarding verge gardens is included on this page -http://communitygarden.org.au/blog/2010/04/09/verge-gardens/

Costa’s community verge garden will be filmed over the coming year so it will be like an ongoing tutorial.  You can watch Episode 1 for a limited time here –  http://www.abc.net.au/iview/

Another of the raised garden beds on the verge in Stamore. The red lid is a buried compost bin. This is such a clever idea as it uses very little space, leaks goodness into the garden bed & there is no smell.

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