Marrickville Council created some new verge gardens in Albion Street Marrickville & they look wonderful. They are uniform in size & placed regularly along the street. They also provided a decent amount of room for the street trees. I imagine that once planted these gardens will look terrific & increase livability in this street.
The benefits of verge gardens are vast & the benefits change with the type of plants used. At the very least verge gardens mean less concrete, which means a lowering of the urban heat island effect. Heat collected by concrete during the day releases somewhat during the night & this keeps nighttime temperatures higher than normal. We all know how hard it is to sleep on a hot night. Managing the urban heat island effect can mean lower power bills.
Cooler streets also result in a nicer environment to be in, whether it be in your house, in the front garden or walking the footpath.
Verge gardens that are native or contain some native plants have a profound benefit to wildlife as food & shelter is available for birds, butterflies, other insects & lizards. Native plants at regular intervals provides a corridor of food, which is extremely important if you want birds & other wildlife to be part of your environment.
Without exaggeration the birdlife increased ten-fold after we created our verge garden. Not all the plants are native, but most are. The other 10% were chosen because they would not be stolen & because they were bee attracting. It went from Currawongs & Indian Mynas being the dominant species to many different species of native birds, including little birds, visiting everyday. It sounds different now & can be quite raucous when a flock arrives to eat.
Other benefits of verge gardens include a softening of the landscape, which is very good for the human spirit. The trees & plants collect particulate matter from passing traffic & therefore improve the air quality. Verge gardens help to collect storm water & filter this water through the ground cleaning it before it enters the Cooks River. I remember reading in a Council document that the drains in Marrickville LGA have reached capacity, so any water that is collected naturally via the ground helps lessen the load of our drains & prevent flooding.
Well-tended verge gardens raise property values in that street because of the beauty they add. They also reduce graffiti & increase safety because of passive surveillance of people out in the street.
To me it is wonderful to walk along a street with verge gardens. It can look great, provide interest to the eye & I am always looking for beauty. It’s a way to learn about plants, what they are & what works well. It’s also a way to connect with nature without going to the park.
Verge gardens can improve your mood to & from work, be a nice route to take your dog for a walk & it is always a great way to meet your neighbours. People are always happy to talk about gardens & plants. I know that the community, not just one’s neighbours, appreciates good verge gardens.
The footpaths of Marrickville LGA could be utterly transformed in ten years or so & we as a whole community would be much better off for this work.