Sunday, January 13, 2008

Disappearing Gardens

An article I read online notes that gardens are disappearing at an alarming rate in Great Britain, victims of real estate development. Apparently the Labor government snuck through a ruling that classifies gardens in the same category as "brownfield" sites, therefore freely open to development with no green space protection. According to the study I read, in some parts of Britain, a third of the new housing is being built on the site of former gardens. Sometimes older houses with large gardens are purchased by developers, the house is torn down, and large apartment houses or multiple single family houses are built (certainly also a common occurrence in the U.S. in areas with high land prices).
We always think of Great Britain as the Eden of gardening, and look to them as a model of green space and trail preservation; but apparently the apple is getting wormy. I see a lot of articles wondering where all the young gardeners have gone to... probably their garden has been buried under concrete.
The picture above was taken last summer in the Royal Botanical Gardens, west of Toronto.
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And I thought we were the Philistines!
MMD... yah... but I don't know whether it makes me feel any better!
We were in Great Britain 4 years ago. We didn't stay long in cities, but the combination of ancient as well as not-so-ancient architecture of their homes with the very small front yards, of which nearly all were planted as "cottage gardens," was so very pleasing and inspiring.

However, I'm afraid we're seeing more concrete everywhere.
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