Where Have All The Gardens (And Allotments) Gone?

Fruits & flowers (calendula, small) 06.7.30 012.jpg 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?
Aapple blossom 06.4.27 005.jpg 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
Allotments (painted sheds, Sudley) 06.7.15 001.jpg 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.

Posted on October 15, 2005, in Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Liverpool And Merseyside, Politics, Policies And Process, Sustainability As If People Mattered. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

    Opening date: Sunday 29th June 2008
    Two superb private gardens previously unseen by the public, plus ninety city allotments, will open their gates to for the first time as part of the celebration of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year 2008.
    The garden of the University of Liverpool’s Vice-Chancellor, Drummond Bone, has previously only been seen by the select few at Graduation garden parties. The large garden in the Toxteth area of Liverpool boasts a rare collection of old shrub roses, a grand formal terrace, grape vine and mature shrub borders. Contact Vivian Bone: 0151 728 8375
    Nearby is the new and developing garden of one of Liverpool’s old merchant houses, Park Mount, overlooking Sefton Park. Here gardener Jeremy Nicholls has been creating a glorious garden using vibrant colours and adventurous planting combinations, with some surprises and many rare plants.
    Contact: Jeremy Nicholls 0151 733 8205 / 07802 676242
    The ninety allotments in Sefton Park will show how well a city plots can provide fruit and vegetables of the highest quality, offering inspiration to other city gardeners. The site includes many interesting community facilities and a plot adapted for disabled gardeners. The site has featured in national TV and film productions – see the ‘Bread’ shed where Lilo Lil held her trysts on plot 89. Contact: Giulia Harding 0151 727 4877
    All the above will open their gates for charity on Sunday June 29th 2008, under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme.
    Sefton Park Palm House will be at the centre of the celebrations with rare and unusual plants for sale, musical entertainment and afternoon tea, and demonstrations from the National Association of Flower Arrangers. Contact: Rosemary on 0151 726 9304.
    Admission is £4.00 with tickets available at all four venues on the day.
    Contact Information:
    Christine Ruth, Press Officer, National Garden Scheme, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. 0151 727 4877 / 07740 438994

  2. Hello,
    I am an allotment holder and have been for over 10 years.
    On our site we have a small area of what amounts to 3 untended plots which have now developed into a lovely woodland area and has been so for 15 years or more. It is a habitat to all manner of birds;great tits, coaltits, bluetits, robins,wrens, woodpeckers & many more! There are also bird boxes attached to the trees within this area.
    We have 50 plots on our site which are fully up and running and this small area only represents 5% of the whole site.
    We have been informed by our allotment association committee that they intend to reclaim this land by cutting down all the trees & bramble, if this happens this beautiful little oasis will be lost forever & more importantly the abundance of wildlife it is home to!
    Allottment sites should have areas where wildlife can flourish, areas that are not managed allowing a natural haven for birds and small mammals to develop. Can you please advise if there is any way by law in preventing this from happening?
    The nest boxes are regularly used so surely they would be acting illegally in an attempt to cut down these trees? They carried out the same procedure in 2003 without any consultation when they got the council to fell over 40 trees (mostly sycamore) in the beginning of May with no care to nesting birds.
    As Allotment holders we should be working with nature not against it! Any advice you have will be very much appreciated.
    With thanks

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