Autumn weather makes right now the perfect time to garden
Did you know that Autumn is the best time of the year to start planting? The warm weather and soil provide the perfect environment for plants to take root and thrive before the cold winter weather arrives.
Now that the weather is cooling, we’re encouraging our green-thumbed residents to pick up the challenge, and shovel, to bring greenery to their streets.
Last year, we released our verge garden guidelines as part of Council’s Urban Greening Strategy to encourage residents to make the most of the Council-owned land between their property and the street.
Wollongong City Council Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said that the verge garden guidelines provide simple advice for residents planting on the verges around their homes.
“When planning your verge garden there’s often a lot of creative and practical thought that goes into choosing the right plants and design for the space,” Cr Bradbery said.
“If you’re not sure where to start with your verge garden, I suggest that you read our guidelines and keep an eye out for the demonstration gardens that are popping up around the city."
Council’s horticulturalist teams have planted three demonstration gardens at Coledale Community Hall, Port Kembla Community Centre and Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre. You’ll also find inspiration at Wollongong Botanic Garden.
“You may also see a number of community-led verge gardens as more residents take up the opportunity to garden on the Council-owned land. Earlier this year, 12 residents received one-off vouchers to fund the purchasing of plants for their verge gardens as part of Council’s recent Connecting Neighbours Grant program,” Cr Bradbery said.
Read more in our media release: “Wollongong locals’ fruitful vision for community verge gardens”.
Want to get started on your verge garden? Here are some gardening tips to help you make your verge garden a success.
Do your research
Not all plants are suitable for every location, and some types may require more gardening ability than others. Whether you want to plant a native verge garden, a low-maintenance garden, or lots of colourful flowers, it’s important to do your research on the plants you plan to buy.
We also ask that residents choose plants that grow or can be pruned to no more than 700mm in height to ensure pedestrians’ line of sight to traffic on your street.
Need an expert opinion? Our horticulturalists are on hand at every Wollongong Botanic Garden plant sale to prove advice about choosing the right plants for your garden. You can also pick up a printed copy of the Verge Guidelines along with helpful guides on local plant species.
Visit the Wollongong Botanic Garden website for upcoming plant sales. The next plant sale is on Friday 21 May.
Talk to your neighbours
It’s always a good idea to have a chat with your neighbours before you start planting on the verge. Verges are public spaces so make sure you share your plans and ask if your neighbours have any concerns or questions. You never know – they may want to get involved!
If you plan to plant edible plants, keep in mind that they might be harvested by neighbours and people walking by.
Check for services – dial before you dig
The verge area outside your property can contain above- and below-ground services such as lighting, powerlines and poles, service access pits, water, sewerage, stormwater, gas, telephone and optic fibre cables.
Dial Before you Dig is a free service that provides you with information about the underground infrastructure on your verge. Go to www.1100.com.au or call 1100 to get your free dial before you dig into your verge.
Leave room for the postie and car doors
It’s important to remember that verges are public spaces. That means your plants mustn’t impede access for people using the space.
We ask residents to leave a 1 metre clearance around the letterbox so the postie can reach your letterbox. Your verge garden must also have a 600mm clearance from the edge of the kerb so people can open their car door.
Maintain safe access for pedestrians on your verge
We know that not all verges have a formal footpath. When planning your garden, leave a level grass strip free from hazards so pedestrians can walk along the verge. This pathway must be maintained to at least 1200mm in width.
Don’t install any structures or hard surfaces
We ask all gardeners not to install hard surfaces or structures in their verge garden. Edging, sculptures, compost bins, seating and other items with hard surfaces can be dangerous for pedestrians. Keep these items out of your verge garden.
Ask Council to plant a free tree on your verge
As part of our Urban Greening Strategy, we’ve been working with residents to increase the tree canopy in public spaces around our community. Residents can request free street trees, planted by Council staff, on verges outside their properties.
Call Council on (02) 4227 7111 to make a request today.
Read more in our media release: “Dapto sets new tree record for Council’s Street Tree program”.
Stay safe when gardening
We want all of our community verge gardeners to have fun but stay safe while planting! Whenever you’re working in the garden, make sure you wear enclosed shoes, gloves and use sun protection.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for vehicles and pedestrians as you work. Never work from on the road itself while planting your verge garden.