In order to achieve a stepping stone corridor, Communitree works on the identification, construction, maintenance, and support of fynbos gardens is public space. Public space is often overlooked and neglected. However, if public space is looked after and cared for, it can provide great environmental value as well as be an asset to the local community (read more about the benefits of urban greening here).
Our "gardens" can come in all sorts of shapes and forms. From tiny roadside verges to large tracts of land in abandoned parks. We do not have any requirements for size, but we do have a number of principles to decide whether or not to include a space in our garden network:
- The public space should be strategically located inside our Corridor Coverage Target Area.
- There should be an interest from community members to get involved and convert the site to a fynbos garden.
- The more can be gained from converting the plot, the better (we would rather work on a plot that is currently bare or is covered in alien vegetation than work on a garden that already contains lots of indigenous vegetation).
We recognise two different types of gardens:
- New gardens
These are gardens that are established where there was no or barely any indigenous vegetation present, and where a completely new garden has to be established.
- Enhancement gardens
These are existing gardens in public spaces that already contain indigenous plants and are generally already looked-after. Here we help enhancing the garden by collaborating with the custodians to add indigenous species and improve this garden and its function in our stepping-stone corridor.
Gardens go through the following phases:
- Assessment: we assess the garden and draw up a plan around what has to be done and how we can do this, together with the local stakeholders.
- Invasive alien removal: kikuyu grass and other invasive alien species are frequently present in the gardens, and removing them is often the highest priority.
- Landscaping: together with the local community we make a plan around how the garden can be landscaped to maximise human use as well as environmental benefits.
- Planting of pioneers species: planting of groundcover species and hardy plants that are able to take hold in the first year.
- Planting of insect and bird species: nectar-rich species are planted to attract insects and birds, which will make the garden a more attractive site within the stepping stone corridor for these animals.
- Planting of specialist species: once the pioneer species have taken root and a good foundation has been laid, specialist species are added to increase the diversity of species in the garden.
- Place-making: together with the local community we look at what interventions are required to make the garden into an attractive place for people to use and enjoy.