Author Emma Cutting
Hello Lovely Local!, My name is Emma Cutting and I have been a resident of City of Port Phillip for 20 years. I am also the Founder of The Heart Gardening Project, a community initiative that brings humans and nature together through street gardening. We turn barren, undernourished pieces of public land into gardens of wriggling, buzzing beauty for everyone to enjoy (around 70 so far and counting!).
I am writing to let you know (if you didn’t know already!) that the City of Port Phillip’s (CoPP) new draft Nature Strip Guidelines (NSGs) have just been released for community feedback and, if there isn’t a strong community response to change them, these would mean the end of street gardening for the vast majority of residents in the City of Port Phillip.
There are so many issues with this document but the main two are that…
• Tree squares are not allowed to be planted in
• ‘Clearance areas’ are so enormous that only a few plants at the most can be planted in even the hugest of nature strips
Not only that, but CoPP declares that gardens which don’t adhere to the new guidelines are also subject to removal. This means that, again, the vast majority of existing street gardens, many of them decades old, would be subject to removal at council’s whim.
While there is a definite need for updated, clear and safe Nature Strip Guidelines in the City of Port Phillip, CoPP has demonstrated overblown, short-term thinking around the safety of council assets. These new NSGs effectively deny residents the many positives that can come from street gardening including community cohesion, the ability to contribute to the natural beauty of our city and also individually respond to climate change and declining urban biodiversity.
We need to act now and tell our Councillors and Council Officers that this is not good enough. We need these draft NSGs rewritten to be inclusive, researched properly and empowering. Basically, if you love street gardening, are appreciative of your local street gardener, enjoy walking around your local street gardens, think that street gardening is more beneficial than not for your community, think we need more beautiful gardens, believe that increasing biodiversity is important and/or think we need to do more to fight climate change then please do the following…
• Read council guidelines at
• Sign the petition at
• Contact your local ward Councillors directly
• Get out and create a street garden!!
• Place the small sign below (or something similar!) in your front window
Thank you! Love Emma
For more info on street gardening:
For lots of pics of street gardens: Instagram
Email The Heart Gardening Project at: