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Planting roadside berms to create urban bio-corridors

Information covered at the Grey Lynn 2030 meeting in March 2011 led by Mandy McMillin of the Wilton Street Community Garden

1.    Goal

To create a beautiful and diverse urban landscape that supports a rich mix of flora and fauna; where nature is visible and celebrated; with streets where people, plants, birds, bees and insects flourish.

2.    The Plan

To create continuous gardens on the roadside berms along both sides of the streets in our neighbourhood.  Each person participating takes responsibility for planting and maintaining the berm garden outside their own house.  It is hoped that over time, other neighbours will see the benefits and join in, so that eventually the gardens will form a continuous corridor in any street.  In the same way as the Franklin Street Christmas lights, each house will have a different garden but together they will form a congruous whole.  The gardens combined will be visually stunning and create a cohesive landscape that is pleasant to walk and play in.

3.  Environmental and community benefits

  • Beautiful streetscapes
  • food and habitat for birds, bees, native invertebrates (such as lizards) and other insects
  • improved pollination rates for local plants
  • support local bee populations
  • reduction in stormwater runoff and soil erosion
  • streets become a more pleasant environment for living in
  • attract visitors to our neighbourhood
  • improved environment for passive recreation including walking and cycling
  • co-operation and connections between neighbours
  • the streets are reclaimed for living in – not vehicle traffic (David Engwicht)
  • cleaner air and stormwater – plants filter air and water
  • shade in summer and shelter in winter – bulk vegetation can moderate temperature extremes
  • reduced maintenance costs to council/ratepayers (no mowing)

4.   Recommended species to plant
Hardy, low maintenance, flowering perennials and small shrubs.  Native plants as habitat and food for native flora and fauna. All year round flowering plants for bees.  Non-weed species, non invasives..
For example; Lavender, hebe, native grasses, pohuehue (muehlenbeckia) manuka, swan plants, wild flowers, borage, nasturtium, comfrey.

5.         Guidelines

Auckland Council owns the roadside verge or berm. Grey Lynn 2030 supports planting by residents who are willing to take ongoing responsibility for the planting.  If you are unsure about the best approach ask for permission from the Council and stick to the following guidelines for planting on berms:

  • Only low-level planting should be used. This should not impede pedestrians, restrict visibility or create a safety hazard for motorists or cyclists.
  • The planting (eg. tree roots) must not affect the operation of utility services.
  • The planting should be maintained regularly.
  • Trees, large boulders, shells and similar, harder landscaping measures must not be used.
  • Growth must be kept clear of the roadside and any roadside structures or furniture.

6.    Funding and assistance
Grey Lynn 2030 will consider applications for a contribution of $50 to anyone who would like to do a planting and needs financial assistance.

Berm bombs away The Aucklander, 24 March 2011

If you have any more queries contact project leader Mandy McMullin at greylynn2030@gmail.com