We are always happy to hear rumours that our story on the cleaning of Hounslow lane had inspired several other groups of Woodstock residents to do the same. Here is another great example of how these unused bits of real estate can be changed into havens of space where kids and dogs can play safely, and residents can flex their green fingers. The pictures and text below were contributed by ILW reader and Woodstock resident Masha du Toit.
A few weeks ago a small team of us, residents of Chamberlain and Salisbury street, started cleaning up the servitude that runs along the back of our houses: Rainham Lane. It was pretty bad.
We could hardly open the door leading from our backyard into the lane, and everyone got covered in burs. The weeds by themselves were not so bad – home to praying mantises, crickets, snails, spiders and earthworms. But there was also a lot of garbage woven in among the plants. Plastic packets, chunks of concrete dumped after renovations, condom wrappers etc.
We ripped weeds out all along the lane, cleared doorways and the gutter all along the lane, and caused a slow-motion panic among the snail population. We soon saw that there was far more rubbish than we could dump with our single bakkie. In the end after the first weekend we only managed to take out the weed forest and sort the rubbish into piles.
The following weekend of the lane angels, Liana, organised a truck to pick up all the waste we ripped out of Rainham Lane. The truck just fitted into the lane! The two men who came with the truck pretty much picked up all the rubble, sand and weed piles while me, Dittany and Liana did our bit to help. I did not get any good photographs of the guys, but they did a fantastic job.
In little over an hour the lane was cleared of most of the rubbish.
A few weeks later we continued our mission to clean Rainham Lane. This time we were carting some of the rubble and soil we could not fit into the truck, into containers for plants. It was heavy work! Petrus and Liana carry a tub of soil while Ingrid adds more soil to the wheelbarrow:
Liana organised some large wooden crates, and Brendon found a lot of plastic milk crates to act as plant containers. It took many trips with the wheelbarrow to fill up those crates, but thanks Pippin’s vigilant supervision no mistakes were made.
Next the planters were filled with whatever plants we had at hand, greening the space is an ongoing project!
Thanks Masha! Just look what the lane looked like before they started!
Well done Woodstockers! A great thing about community initiatives like this is that neighbours get to know each other and conversations get started that benefit the community in many ways. Check out the Rainham lane facebook group (a great way to organize something like this) and you will see there are lots of plans to green the space some more with veggie crates and vertical gardens. Lets face it, most Woodstockers lack space, and reclaiming the lanes as community space is a great way to fill this need.
Do you know of any more initiatives like this- we would love to hear about it! Contact us here.