“The Extinction Rebellion demonstration over the Easter Weekend has dramatically brought to the public’s attention once again the problem of Global Warming and the abuse of the planet by humans. Gardening, which we keen gardeners all do for pleasure, can make a small but significant contribution to mitigating these effects.
Take one example: pollution. It is a major problem in London, including in Greenwich, parts of which are above the legal limits. Plants take in carbon dioxide and secrete oxygen, which helps purify the air. Greenwich residents should be encouraged to garden and plant as many pollution-absorbing plants as possible.
Unfortunately, there is an increasing shortage locally of gardening space. Many residents have paved their front gardens to provide space for parking their cars. Also many back gardens are now astroturfed or covered in decking which does not help. Nor has Greenwich Council’s policy of building high rise flats in the borough rather than houses with gardens. And what few of the latter are built usually have small gardens. For example, many thousands of flats have already been built in the borough and many thousands more are planned for the Thames Riverside site between the Thames Barrier and the Yacht Club and around Woolwich Town Centre.
Given this situation, one solution if gardening is to be encouraged locally, is for blocks of flats to become a focus of balcony gardening in the borough. Greenwich Council and its Planning Department is apparently in the process of declaring a climate emergency. That being the case they should encourage developers to build all flats with large wide balconies which would allow for a significant amount of gardening. Also the Council might like to encourage the managing agents of blocks of flats to set up residents gardening clubs.
Flat dwellers are already showing an interest in gardening as it has become very fashionable to grow indoor plants, especially succulents. So if they were provided with sizable balconies they are very likely to start growing other plants as well.
If any of you are interested in promoting these ideas. Perhaps you could spread the word and if you come into contact with Greenwich Council Councillors or staff you might bring up the subject of promoting gardening in flats.”
Additional thought: Perhaps we should copy Stefano Boeri’s fantastic apartment blocks in Milan which won many awards when it was built in 2014. Here is Bosco verticale, the ultimate in balcony gardening!