Let’s put an end to cookie-cutter gardens and unnecessary height limits on vegetation. Proclaim your membership in the flourishing foundation of people who cultivate something more useful and less wasteful than an ordinary turf lawn. Take your garden to the streets! Grow UP!
As communities mature, they develop unique characteristics and sometimes become home to exceptional people. Their differences form part of a valuable social web that fosters vibrancy and creativity. Some municipalities and neighbours may not yet appreciate the value of diversity, including biodiversity, and push to retain out-moded ideals…including that wasteful green mat surrounding buildings.
Many people, and some local governments, aren’t aware that residents have right to grow gardens on municipally-owned land of which they have been given care (also known as boulevards, medians, curbs, or hell strips). Some may object to choices of plant materials even on land that the residents own directly (as in front yards…although unusual back gardens have also faced the wrath of municipal bylaw inspectors). Most often, enforcement of complaints against unusual gardens takes the form of height restrictions, but some locations go to great length to find reasons to quash what is new to them.
Gardening on boulevards isn’t actually new…it’s an idea that has been around for decades. Increasingly cities around the world are not only allowing gardens, they’re encouraging them! Having well chosen layered vegetation on the “hell strip” alleviates the effects of both droughts and intense rainfall events…benefiting both the environment and City coffers. Turf uses not only more water than drought-tolerant plants, but it does a poorer job of absorbing excess precipitation which in turn adds an unnecessary strain on city storm sewer lines. Gardening without pesticides or fertilizers on this sensitive strip is a given.
Front yard and boulevard gardens encourage neighbourhood interactions, reduces crime levels, and calms traffic. Increasing biodiversity, bringing a bit of nature into our immediate environs, has a positive effect on mental health and combats nature-deficit disorder. Proximity to nature, including that of full front yard gardens, tends to increase property values by revitalizing neighbourhoods and encouraging more forward-thinking home buyers.
Grow Up! signs announce that your garden is part of a legitimate and growing trend to develop sustainable spaces instead of pavement.
Grow Up! signs are available as:
- Grow Up! Toronto (2 signs/$5, to cover production, shipping & handling)
- with a blank space in place of “Toronto” (2signs/$5)
- with your location’s name added (2 signs/$8)
- During 2013, newly registered Green Evolution Sites may also ask that a Grow Up! sign be included with their Green Evolution Site sign purchase at no additional charge (a $3 fee does apply to add a location name other than Toronto).
Large orders with names of specified locations will be priced individually…contact firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your request.
We will not divulge individual locations, but all registered Grow Up! sites are eligible for annual awards.
Special recognition will be given to Grow Up! site owners having the largest number of participants in a single street.
Encourage your neighbours to Grow Up!
Don’t forget to send in photo’s of your gardens!