From little things, big things grow

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One of two olive trees, transplanted from pots into the nature strip

I’ve been very active on our nature strip, madly guerilla gardening in several citrus trees, a bay tree, kaffir lime, and lemon-scented tea tree. My next step is to progressively get rid of the grass which is competing with the trees (no small task, will be waiting for some cooler weather!).

One of the residents from down the road dropped by one day to ask about the trees: did I ask for permission from the Council first? “Well, I could’ve” was my response.

After some further discussions, he revealed that he had two olive trees that had outgrown their pots, and  was wondering whether they could be planted into the nature strip in front of their house. I said: why not! The following weekend they went into the nature strip, and they’re growing well a month or two later.

As they say: from little things, big things grow. Who knows, maybe we’ve started a local movement. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “From little things, big things grow

    Richard Reynolds said:
    December 2, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Great stuff. Love how being direct with your neighbour led to them having the confidence to join in with more guerrilla gardening.

    Yako said:
    December 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

    I guess the idea of GG is harmless, but ignorance of what gets planted could be an emerging problem – not that councils get it right everytime either. GGners need to look up when planting trees – are their power/telephone lines there or nearby? How big will the tree be in 5 years? In ten? In 30? Will it change the light dynamics of someone elses yard or allow moss to grow on the street? And also, what is underneath? Sewer pipes? cables? Will the roots of the trees eventually break up the pathways/drives/gardens of surrounding area. Some rapid growing exotics leave toxins in the soil that kill off grass and plants right out to the drip line. So please, while I accept that councils are usually just slow moving nay sayers and the excitement of GG is essential to get it started, pure ignorance of what is planted where will only cause more problems and eventually give GGners a bad name.

      James responded:
      December 8, 2009 at 10:04 am

      Yes, I agree completely!

      What we don’t want is anarchy, with all the problems you’ve outlined. Conversely, we want to encourage active and engaged residents in an area, not just sitting and hoping that “someone else” (the Council) will get things done on their behalf.

      This is why I’ve suggested to the Council that they should develop a positive and constructive policy on nature strip planting. One that outlines “what” and “why”, rather than “don’t” and “can’t”. That could form the basis for a productive partnership between residents and the Council, and then everyone wins 🙂

    Darren (Green Change) said:
    February 10, 2010 at 7:34 am

    This is a great example of tapping into latent interest. You start doing something in a visible way, and someone else who’s been thinking about it suddenly feels confident to have a go too. Before long, there’ll be a dozen houses along your street planting edibles on the nature strip!

    To Yako, I think where this differs from normal Guerrilla Gardening is that people are doing it out the front of their own house. It’s not just some random vacant lot or public park – it’s their house. That means the trees will be looked after, and people aren’t knowingly going to plant something that will cause them problems down the track. James’ idea of working with the council will help people to make sensible decisions as to what, how and where to plant stuff.

    James, check out this great list of edible street and park trees – it was written for the Illawarra so it should be pretty much spot on for you as well. I’ve submitted it to my council (Kiama) and am trying to get some trial plantings to happen.

    jason said:
    November 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Yes, there needs to be guidelines. Residents do move, and often new owners dont have the same kind of enthusiasm that the creator may have had. Nature strips can become derelict and overgrown, almost as bad as no nature strip!

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