Where Have All The Gardens (And Allotments) Gone?
There are many unattended back gardens in cities; but there are also many people who would like to have allotments. Could these two observations be brought together to provide a sense of place and an opportunity for city children to learn more about things that grow?
If, like me, you travel on trains quite a lot, you also see quite a lot of back gardens. Some are beautiful; some are not. One striking thing however is that the beautifully kept gardens seem to be contagious – on each side there are usually tidy gardens, gradually petering out to the less tidy, and then to the frankly unkempt. I have always been fascinated about how this happens. Perhaps visible example enables achievement, just as in any other area of human experience?
It has to be said, however, that quite a lot of the unkempt back gardens tend to be inner-city. Yet at the same time there are reports in some places that waiting lists for allotments are at an all-time high. Can’t these back gardens become ‘allotments’? And maybe ‘parks’, too?
Are there areas where people might be pleased to get rid of their battered fences, at least at a given distance from their actual houses, and turn these into pleasant shared ground? Alleygating of terraced housing has in general proved to be popular. If alleyways can be shared to advantage, how about gardens?
Promoting environmental awareness through gardening
Maybe there are people who would like to have their allotment as an extended patch behind where they live, as long as they don’t mind sharing.
Are there any organisations which might encourage this sort of collective gardening activity? Could there be educational as well as community benefits? Maybe that way fewer city children would believe that peas are manufactured in tins. And maybe also those in a given ‘garden community’ who wanted to move beyond their immediate backyard into shared garden space might have a safer place than the street to meet as neighbours.
This idea naturally begs a lot of questions, and there are multiple reasons why it might not work, but perhaps there are also some why it might.