17 Aug Open Yardens Project
At what was possibly the UK’s first ever ‘Open Yardens’ event, a number of Moss Side and Rusholme houses opened up their back gates to allow the public in to see their amazing ‘yardens’ (bigger than a yard, but not quite a garden).
Manchester hasn’t had the best press this last week but demonstrating that community spirit is still alive and stronger than ever in peaceful Moss Side, the event’s colourful displays, coinciding with the end of the Caribbean Carnival, reinforced this year’s carnival theme celebrating 30 years of increasing unity and development in Moss Side since the 1981 riots and shows what a long way we have come.
If you follow me on twitter or facebook at all, you might have noticed I’m quite proud of where I live, so it was a delight for me to document the afternoon; inspired by such a showcase I might even devote more time to my own slightly neglected yarden! There were lots of locals drawn in, similarly getting inspired by the variety, as well as a number of visitors from further afield.
What these narrow terraces lack in space, they more than make up for with imaginative and creative design. Visitors followed a self-guided tour, aided by a beautiful map, to discover hidden oases tucked away in densely built streets, featuring an abundance of fruit and vegetables, Mediterranean-style sheltered patios, mini orchards, converted air-raid shelters, lawns and even a 100 year old fig tree, before voting for their favourite.
In addition, a number of the alleyways have been gated, enabling the residents nearby to take ownership of them, keeping them clean and green and turning them into great shared urban gardens for neighbours. One newly gated alley had a live gardening demonstration, making planters out of old crates.
One of our councillors, Sameem Ali, pictured here. I hear rumours that Tony Lloyd MP was also around.
Open Yardens was organised by The Avenues Residents Association, Transition Moss Side and The Moss Cider Project with funding from Manchester City Council.
The day concluded with a bbq for all the hard-working volunteers, yarden owners and organisers, held in Cranswick Square (a fantastic space created by Cranswick Square residents who reclaimed this unused spot, headed up by the remarkable Phil Dodd).
Here’s a massive thumbs up to the organisers who have been tirelessly working on this project for weeks:
Dan, announcing the winner of the Yardens quiz, (their prize: an apple tree of course, donated by The Moss Cider Project) …
… Joel and Becca of Transition Moss Side…
… and Jo of The Avenues Residents Association … along with many more!
(I just turned the camera on these brothers and they went beserk!)