Just imagine we had a way to green and cool our cities, reduce pollution, help our wildlife, increase our physical and mental health, increase a sense of community and build social fabric, provide employment and training possibilities, and not cost too much.
Can’t happen. Or can it?
Just like all good ideas, it seems so simple and obvious once all the pieces are assembled.
So let’s begin.
In the United Kingdom, they are planting “stripes of wildflowers across farm fields” to cut pesticide spraying. Not clumps, but long stripes of flowering plants to create long pathways for pollinators and good bugs.
Meanwhile in Brisbane, they are finding that water-dragons-are-evolving-at-a-pace-we-can-witness and that they are evolving differently in the unconnected pockets of habitat around the city. Yes, there is greenspace in Brisbane but it tends to be in isolated pockets. Our greenspace needs connecting corridors.
…the old Australian idea of the “long paddock” – that long thin stretch of land meandering around the country…
Now combine this idea of pollinator pathways and the need for connections between greenspace, with the old Australian idea of the “long paddock” – that long thin stretch of land meandering around the country at the sides of the roads.
What do you get?
Our verges, footpaths, nature strips, or whatever you choose to call them, could be the long paddocks of our cities and suburbs, long stripes of bright flowers and native shrubs that can provide both habitat and connections.
…convert our nature strips into vibrant stripes crisscrossing our suburbs and connecting parks and forest areas.
Not the odd plant here or there – but convert our existing nature strips / footpaths / walkways / verges that need endless mowing and edging and fertiliser and weedkiller, into vibrant stripes with street trees, low growing native shrubs, and flowers crisscrossing our suburbs and connecting parks and forest areas.
Imagine walking or cycling along these shaded paths through gardens which change with the seasons. Occasionally, you’ll come across some fairy wrens or willy wagtails, a blue-tongue lizard lurking, and many different types of native bees and butterflies. Or pause and say hello to the odd gardener out there tending their patch.
Could we possibly make that happen?
Many councils are now providing guidelines for verge gardens which make it possible for individuals to do this – but it tends to be small-scale and isolated. Something for the enthusiast with time on their hands. There are other hurdles too, but they are not insurmountable.
I think we can do it. Do you?