some like it green some like it grey

When I see the cultural trend towards massive concrete drive ways, I wonder why oh why, there exists this lustful relationship with grey.

While the trend is not entirely pervasive it is a worrying trend none the less. As there is plenty of grey concrete to share among us (footpaths) and plenty of black communal asphalt to go around, I wonder why there exists this yearning to have even more of it around ones home.

My concern for this excess of grey and black is not whimsical nor motivated by a deep desire to turn everyone into an ardent gardener. It’s just that we all know, don’t we? that we need to cool our cities and that we need to reduce storm water runoff to protect our streams.

It is through a collection of small individual efforts to re vegetate our urban landscapes that Cities like Melbourne become “Livable City” icons. It is not enough to leave the responsibility to city planners and local governments. We need to contribute too. And those contributions don’t go unnoticed. How many times in the past ten years have I heard a passer by comment on how much pleasure our Reservoir garden gives and how often has someone shared with me that they chose to walk or run down our street for a glimpse of our gardening activities?

A rambling, messy, productive or non productive garden, full of plants of different heights, with a small meandering path or pot plants spilling with unkempt fruit speaks of life and vitality. It suggests that people do in fact live here and that their lives are bubbling and simmering. But a large, really large concrete drive way, what does that suggest? Only that its residents hope to convey that everything in their lives is absolutely and completely and utterly under their control…

Some like it grey.

Some like it grey.

Some like it grey.

A large concrete drive way leads the resident straight to their door.

This car parking area is very large and in a quite street with plenty of on street parking.

This car parking area is very large and in a quite street with plenty of on street parking.

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Freshly laid concrete: a symbol of sterility and nothingness.

A variation on the theme.

A variation on the theme.

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Another large space devoted to parking: parking life itself maybe.

Once upon a time we were a little more humble with our drive ways and did them like this.

Once upon a time we were a little more humble with our drive ways and did them like this. Grass was actually permitted to grow in the middle.

Many of the homes of the 50's and 60s planned simple drive ways, with minimal concrete. And surely people were more averse to nature then ?

Many early 20th Century homes planned simple drive ways, with minimal concrete.

Lucky for us this trend is not entirely contagious. Here a nature strip is planted out with new plants.

Lucky for us the trend is not entirely contagious. While some are paving their drive ways with extensive shades of grey and black others are looking for places to plant more green. A nature strip is planted out with new vegetation.

At this home a raised vegetable garden bed has been installed.

At this home a raised vegetable garden bed has been installed, adding colour and texture.

This garden was dripping with red rubies and...

This garden was dripping with red rubies and…

large succulent stones.

large succulent gems and …

crimson capsicums.

crimson capsicums.

Another nature strip planted with

While this nature strip is a delicious mix of orange and green even through the dry summer months.

A grey fence is softened with Pencil Pines.

A grey fence is softened with Pencil Pines.

Neatness and control are not defining moments here.

Neatness and control are not defining moments here.

A plant is allowed to ramble and bubble over this small entry gate.

A plant is allowed to mostly ramble and bubble over this small entry gate.

A spillage of green here.

A spill of green.

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This highly managed/pruned hedge could also suggest a desire for control, but the surrounding foliage and trees that accompany it make for a beautiful garden.

Wispy green.

Wispy green.

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Shades of a very different type of grey.

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A minimal path, edged by an expansive garden.

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A narrow drive way met by a green wall.

Shrubs, grass and trees.

Shrubs, grass and trees, the way it could be.

More plants than fence.

More plant than fence.

And where there are plants there are jewels like these to be found.

And where there are plants there are jewels like these to be found…and

And where there are plants life abounds! Jooles most certainly thinks so!

And where there are plants life abounds! Jools most certainly thinks so!