Back to the garden

In some suburban streets greenery becomes scarce – initiatives hold against it

Back to the garden

Gray on gray, the ubiquitous pavement proves: life can get tough in the garden, too.Stone deserts grow in cities, backdrops like in end-time movies. Stone as far as the eye can see, steel grids, plastic fences. Cars tuned up next to houses. No junk cars like in Mad Max, but new, stylishly pimped and freshly polished. The only shiny thing in the dusty gray. More and more gardens are filled up with gravel. Nothing grows. Life is on the retreat.Will someone clean up here?

Before it is the last to do so, alliances are now being forged to tackle the desolation of petrified, originally green residential areas. Citizens' initiatives form. "Back to the garden" is the motto. Isn't that where paradise lies?

For example, the Stiftung Gartenkultur (Garden Culture Foundation), which runs a museum in Illertissen in Bavaria-Swabia, has started a new "de-stoning" campaign to encourage garden owners to turn their desert into a flower garden. A perennial garden, for example, doesn't have to be high-maintenance at all, he says. The person who says this is the renowned perennial gardener Dieter Gaißmayer, co-initiator of the foundation and museum.

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Real mussels in plastic or only imprint on plastic foil? The new nature in the garden comes from the chemical factory.Experts warn about the ecological consequences of the drab-grey garden fashion: no animals live in such areas. Humus-rich garden soil grown over a long period of time is covered by thick layers of stone. Pollutants are introduced into the groundwater. The surfaces heat up strongly. Radiate heat strongly.Cooling is more severe in winter.In winter the cooling is stronger. In shady areas, moss soon forms; wild herbs, grasses and woody seedlings appear. Then poisoning, scouring, scarfing down. A never-ending battle against nature begins. Because in Central Europe stone surfaces usually green themselves quickly. Those who think they can do away with gardening by giving up greenery will soon realize that they have not done themselves any favors.

Gravel paths and models from nature have tradition

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Hydrangeagravel use in gardens has a long tradition, in Europe mainly as a path surface that looks good with occasional maintenance (raking through) and allows water to seep away. Gravel beds, which take their models from nature, are also ecologically sensible and allow for charming designs. The correctly selected plants – woody plants, perennials and annuals – play a major role: they are the most important thing for beauty, color and fragrance in a bed. The stones themselves are hardly visible. They loosen the soil and make it permeable for plants from dry, warmer climates that cannot survive in permanently moist soil. Many Mediterranean plants, also those with front or inner-Asian origin are to be cultivated at such locations.

A garden like at the Mediterranean Sea, how should something like that be possible in Central Europe?? The climate, with 300 days of sunshine and an average of 400 millimeters of precipitation per year, can be described like this: The land is bathed in light, baked in the glow of month-long sunny days, withers in merciless drought, reappears revived in autumn downpours, winter fog and sparse spring showers. What is "nice weather" from the tourist's point of view means a permanent challenge for gardeners and farmers in these regions. Plants that survive without much care must be specialists, they do not mind the frosty nights, which are not so rare even in Southern Europe. The combination of coolness and wet soils is deadly.

In this country, on the south side of buildings, sunny roadsides, in south and west facing front yards, stones and gravel can be used to improve water drainage so that even species with otherwise dubious winter hardiness can survive the cold season.

What this can look like is u.A. On the website of the Bavarian Garden Academy Veitshöchheim (www.Lwg.Bavaria.De) to see. There a detailed guidance for the correct organization of gravel and gravel gardens is to be downloaded. The leaflet contains not only tips for the location and planting, but also pictures with planting examples and suggestions for recommended plant combinations. There is also a list of further literature.

Green out, gray in – fatal trend also in Dortmund

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Less work with stone? No way! The picture shows: in the gravel grows in spite of foil all kinds of things. And the perforated stones, which make passable parking spaces in the green lawn, are not exactly a feast for the eyes when presented pure as here.The sky means well with Dortmund. Regular rainfall, fertile soils, rocky deserts. Nevertheless the deserts grow. Stone deserts. And there, where one expects it least: in owner-occupied housing estates. Instead of a house with a garden, there is now a house with a concreted-over plot of land. Green out, gray in. Since this is also increasingly observed in the northwestern city district of Mengede, the Bündnisgrünen parliamentary group in the district council in 2016 submitted a question on this to the administration. Because: the fatal trend towards sealing, the increase in paved and stone-filled garden areas is also omnipresent in the Westphalian metropolis.

Particularly on private properties, the amount of green space is being significantly reduced, front gardens are being paved over, additional garages are being built, and terraces are being paved over. The effect is already clear during heavy rainfall. Water can no longer be quickly absorbed by the soil and accumulates on the streets; the sewage system is overtaxed. The dust load is increasing; the temperatures are changing to the extreme. Without plants, animals are also left with no habitat.

For a good climate, more rather than less greenery is needed

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Tree shade plantsClimate experts and urban planners propagated the opposite, namely de- instead of sealing, greening of front gardens, backyards and facades, the creation of breeding and nesting opportunities for birds. Rainwater should seep away on the property. In the integrated urban development concept for the districts of Westerfilde/Bodelschwingh, the greening of facades and open spaces of private house owners could be promoted.

Mengede has a large amount of green space outside the residential and commercial areas (the second largest in Dortmund) and political influence on private property is only possible to a limited extent, but the Green Group is interested in giving more space to climate protection. This is all the more important because Mengede is not designated as an environmental zone and the citizens are exposed to the exhaust fumes of outdated trucks and cars.

Administration should answer seven questions

The administration should answer the following questions:

1. Are there guidelines that regulate the (partial) sealing of green areas on private property or. Restrict? If necessary. Building permits required? 2. Are private owners obligated to register a fastening of green spaces by paving, slab paving or concreting with the authorities? 3. Is the construction of gabions, which are inevitably perceived as a "wall", permissible as a substitute for hedges and shrubs for visual and noise protection?? If yes, up to what amount? 4. Are the measures mentioned in points 2 and 3 documented and accompanied by the authorities? 5. To what extent will private property owners throughout the borough of Mengede be required to infiltrate stormwater on their property? Are there, if necessary. Other settlements for which this could be considered? 6. Are other measures in the sense of climate protection planned for the urban district of Mengede in addition to the projects in the integrated urban development concept?. Planned? (z. B. Unsealing urban areas, schoolyards, green roofs on public buildings u.Ä.) 7.

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