Permablitz #198 – Newport
Too many cooks spoil the broth. Right?
So what would happen if you put the following in the same time space continuum?
- Three community organisations:
- A girl with a hammer,
- Veteran blitzers,
- New apprentices,
- 30 odd permablitz volunteers
- Two gregarious Canadian hosts
- A standard inner city cottage
….sounds like a recipe for a disaster!
However, it turned out to be a hugely inspiring and fun blitz that actually finished early or should I say, just in time for the second afternoon tea.
Achievements of the Day.
- Verge garden.
This is a beautiful street, where neighbours don’t carry on unnecessarily about ‘ugly verges’ and don’t resist innovations.
- Reshuffling of the garden beds.
We achieve this by making the containers bottomless so that the plants can extend their roots into the ground.
- Lawn alternative
By adding a mixture of drought resistant plants (inedible) and herbs on the verge to share with the neighbours a beautiful and productive lawn alternative was created.
- Outdoor spa /sauna (see pics)
Jokes – Just the sturdies garden bed, ever!!! We all agreed that it will outlast the host’s timber house.
- Brick laying and cementing.
A number of volunteers were interested in relearning these essential DIY skills by participating in the workshop. However, Eve armed with a hammer and spirit cemented herself in the cavity of the sauna/garden bed where she remained till she was lured out by the second afternoon tea. (see many many pics of Eve). I understand that some brave volunteers tried laying a brick or two, they didn’t last for long.. see pics
- Planting the verge garden.
Stepping stones were essential to the design to allow easy access to and from the car.
Plant selection is vital when building a verge garden, choosing the right plants for the different aspects, considering the water run- off and placement of taller plants shading smaller ones.
Louise was not just generous with food and individual attention to the volunteers. She also was brave enough to talk about the one of the overarching reasons for various grassroots events like permablitz.
Just like chickens, we are social creatures who when separated from the flock lose the shine of the epidermal appendages (feathers/hair), the twinkle in our eyes (beady and glassy/windows into the soul with the mobile upper eyelids), forgo the high pitched chases of poor prey-creatures of choice… and most importantly stop laying eggs (ummm… insert your own metaphor here).
Globalisation, urbanisation and increased human mobility have translated into further alienation and estrangement of entire communities meaning that many neighbours no longer have any true connection with each other – often not even know each other’s names. Now more than ever it’s important to make a conscious effort in building long lasting local communities.
Louise has plenty of experience of bridging the gaps in communities that she’s been a part of, and spoke from the heart when recounting stories of her history. She seems to have managed to find a way to engage with every community that had the pleasure of hosting her at the various stages of her life, and fervently believes there’s always a chance to find a substitute for your first cousin from your adolescence just three doors down from your new inner city townhouse, often with a bonus lemon tree in their backyard!
Louise also mentioned that in Canada the custom of gifting a welcome basket is alive and well – we assumed that it only existed in the fantasy world of American films! Personally, I believe a ‘welcome to the neighbourhood’ hard rubbish week party would be a much more appropriate new ritual for the inner west/north. 😉
But I digress…
Thank you all for creating yet another great chapter of Permablitz Melbourne!
To see more photos of the day, check out the gallery here!