|The new Ringwood Town Square in suburban Melbourne - full of culinary herbs and flowers.|
I was in awe for quite some time taking it all in. There I stood, in the middle of the new Ringwood Town Square - the train station on one side and the newly renovated and expanded Eastland Shopping Centre in the other. The space is full of culinary herbs and hardy edibles such as lemongrass, basil, sage, rosemary, nasturtium, artichoke, lemon verbena, mint, curry plant. Quite a formal design, but at the same time a very relaxed feel with these mass plantings of herbal diversity.
|Mass plantings of edible herbs line the walk between the station and the shops - available for the plucking.|
|The edible gardens create a sensory garden barrier between the cafe and restaurant seating and the passing parade.|
I spent my first 20+ years living in the leafy green hills of Ringwood, 25kms from the downtown Melbourne. While it was a calm and natural area where we lived, the hub of Ringwood had always been quite a hard, bland place full of paving, carparks and blank shop walls of the major shopping centre. This is why I was so surpised.
While I am delighted to find this space, I also feel that it is a shame that coming across good urban design is a surprise, and that not just the norm. Hopefully the experience of this town square over time can show that accessible, creative edible spaces can form a central part of primary public space zones in suburbs around the country.