Many thanks to all of you who contributed to December's Out on the Streets. As expected, most of you showed us pictures of your town or neighbourhood's festive decorations, which certainly helped me to get in the mood for Christmas and I hope you did too. They were such fun, I'd do that all over again, with or without the existence of OOTS :)
As Christmas is well and truly over, I'm not going to summarise everyone's contributions this time, but I'll give all participants a mention at the end of this post. However, I will talk about Helen and Anna up front because they both managed to find some public planting to post against all the odds. Both of their posts show grasses are a major force to consider if planting is to look good at this time of the year. Most magazines show them tinged with frost in their winter features and whilst they do indeed sparkle in that setting, I think OOTS is admirable in showing us what still manages to look good when the sun's not shining and conditions are less than ideal.
When I started writing in earnest about public planting early last year, I asked the question Do We Care About Public Planting? Your response shows that we certainly do. However, I believe in general its profile needs to be raised a lot more and good planting is often delivered against all the odds. The issues involved are complex and are set to become even more pressing as the fallout from the credit crunch takes its toll and our population grows over the coming years.
However, I've been heartened by all your 2009 contributions showing good public planting can be found. I was also pleased to see public space designs featured as some of the show gardens at last year's Chelsea (such as here and here). This is one of the few times when gardening crosses over into the mainstream media, so no matter what you might think of the show itself, it's the main chance we have of getting these things talked about. Another profile raising outcome last year was Maggie's London winning architecture's Stirling Prize. Maggie's is open for anyone affected by cancer, but for me there is no doubt that Dan Pearson's garden designs are not only a key factor in the centre's success, they were also a major help in winning the award.
Here in the UK at least these encouraging signs are set to continue as the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) commenced a major campaign last November called Grey to Green. CABE is the government's advisor on architecture, urban design and public space and have been my richest source of good background material so far. Their initial report, Grey to Green: how we shift funding and skills to green our cities makes for very interesting reading and I've also signed up for the campaign's email alerts.
I'm pleased OOTS will continue this year and I'm already looking forward to your contributions. It's fast becoming a resource in its own right, so I'm also mulling over how to carry it forward alongside all the hundreds of bookmarks on public planting I have yet to consolidate into something more meaningful. I also need to reflect on what you've shown me plus my own discoveries made along the way. I'm anticipating writing some opinion and summary pieces this year, in addition to showing more examples of what I've found. I'm also in the middle of reviewing a book called Parks, Plants and People (about Lynden B Miller's 27 years designing major planting schemes in New York) for ThinkinGardens: that needs to be fed into the mix on here at some point too.
So as far as 2010 is concerned, there's lots to do! The picture's from my last trip to London of a rather jolly van I found, which I also need to tell you more about soon.
December OOTS rollcall:
Petoskystone - no blog, so via Photobucket instead!