What better way to spend the ‘quiet’ end of the year – especially this year of terrifying destructive bush fires in areas outside the cities – than tending lane way gardens.
For more than three years I’ve been enjoying looking after several local lane way plots, and recently have harvested five giant sweet potatoes (each as big as a rabbit) – weighing 7kg in all – from a very small strip.
The pleasures and the benefits of lane way gardening are such that I’m inspired to spread the word and the work among neighbours, and to call this project “Adopt a Spot”.
Why do it?
· to keep neglected areas looking good and free of litter
· to provide habitat and flowers for bees and small lizards
· to experiment with ways of growing and with different plants
· to make contact with neighbours and people passing by
· to learn how to grow food,
· to tune in to something bigger than oneself – the weather and the seasons, care of the environment and working well together in our local areas
· to join the widespread movement for growing food in cities (we’ll need more of this after the bush fires)
Lane way gardening is not hard, but requires (and strengthens in us) positive qualities: attunement, patience, dedication, resilience and creative visioning and delight. Other things are needed too: time, strength to carry buckets of water, some knowledge about plants and growing (or friendly help).
To see the effect of one’s work is very satisfying, and there is plenty of room for experimentation, learning from doing, and sharing with others.
One obstacle is that we don’t have ‘control’ over public spaces, and things can get taken and damaged; but this forces us to think about ‘the Commons’, areas that are in the care of everyone. Who better to step into the role of looking after our local lane ways, than each of us!
I like the experience of taking care of a small space, knowing that, if it serves as a model and gets multiplied, big things can happen. We can grow plenty of food in our cities. “From little things, big things grow’, as Paul Kelly sings, and I’d add that we also are big, who take small, significant actions.
Convenor, Transition Bondi