Latest update!

See 'Loving Life on the Verge' from The Age, Saturday 16 May, by Megan Backhouse, including reference to our competition!

You've probably noticed that more and more people are removing the grass on their nature strip or beside the footpath so that they can create gardens there instead. This is called nature strip gardening.

Making use of this space helps to reduce the urban heat island effect, increase biodiversity for local insects and birds and helps build community connections. The popularity of edible gardens has brought fruits, herbs and vegetables – often mixed with flowers, succulents and native plants – to our street verges.

OGV supporter and garden owner, Karen Sutherland, is pictured here next to her own nature strip garden. She’s very passionate about productive gardens and has many edible plants there, which she enjoys sharing with her local community. Karen’s business Edible Eden Design grew from a lifelong passion for growing her own food and a desire to help others experience the pleasure of their own home harvest.

For the month of May we’re asking you to send in pictures of your own nature strip garden – or one you’ve come across in your neighbourhood. Email us a picture and quick note what you love about that garden and/or plants you find work well in this setting at: We will be sharing some of the entries to our Instagram and Facebook pages so please only send in images if you’re happy for yours to be shared.

The most inspiring entry will receive Penny Woodward and Karen Sutherland’s latest book: Tomato: Know, Sow, Grow, Feast. The competition closes on 31 May 2020, and Karen herself will be judging the winner.

If you're thinking of planting a new nature strip garden check with your local council first for any restrictions. Also, be sure to contact ‘Dial before you Dig’ on 1100 or before breaking ground.

Karen’s suggestions for popular plants to use for nature strip gardens include the following:

  • Herbs, as they are forgiving plants for these very-exposed conditions and are also easily shared with neighbours:
    • Parsley (her favourite and which her neighbours all love) and also wild rocket which is great to attract bees;
    • Thyme, rosemary and other Mediterranean herbs, all perfect for these conditions; and
  • Edible flowers like pineapple sage, agastache, calendula and nasturtiums, which all help to engage children.