There's a place where the gardens are back to front and where one person's shed is another one's tool box. Welcome to Hoad Terrace, where the gardens provide the stepping stones to community.
Kay, chief instigator and one of the crew behind The Ulverston Permaculture Project, explains how the shared street lawn came about:
"I was sick a few years ago and one of the ladies helped me with my garden and rekindled my joy of gardening. It was a burden when I was ill. She and her daughter and I started helping each other and it grew organically from there."
The fabric of community has an intangible quality. It helps though when there is a collection of active interested people living in close proximity.
Kay explains: "When I did my PDC, I chose to try and extend these ideas of community and sharing down the road. We now have two more neighbours involved in growing and in the keyhole garden and some more beds of veg."
Hoad Terrace isn't just about food - it's about cultivating an ethic of exchange and localism.
A single lawn mower is shared, with each person taking turns at mowing all the lawns. Other tools are shared, as well as meals. Breaking bread and boundaries, residents have abandoned a fence in favour of a living row of plants. A space to play badminton, a communal trampoline, and a shared fire area are included too.
As well as swapping stories and space, some of the residents have looked beyond the needs of the community. Kay explains:
"We run a MacMillan coffee morning (except it's a wine and cheese evening) each year and raise money for the charity. We sell plants, unwanted stuff, pickles and jams from garden produce, cakes and of course wine and tea!"
Bill Mollinson's view about good design leading to more hammock time (meant as a witty quip, not, as some naively believe, a final point) comes to mind. Yet sometimes good design can simply be an accident of events that, fuelled by the spark of an idea, can lead to somewhere not entirely expected.
Kay is very pleased with the Hoad Terrace street gardens: "It works! It's low maintenance, low cost and really fun. We always say that if we won the lottery we wouldn't move. There are some things that money can't buy and community is one of them."
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