I've written about the Edinburgh tenements before. These streets of tenements have little in the way of gardens on show. The ground floor flats sometimes have small front gardens. On our road, the front gardens are about 10ft x 20ft, but on some streets there are no front gardens at all. The effect can be quite austere. But the tenements hide secret gardens. Behind them lie the 'back greens' or the drying greens. These are back gardens, shared between all the flats on a stairwell, and accessed via a common door. They were designed originally as places to hang out the washing. Some of the old cast iron washing line poles still exist. The back greens are little used nowadays, although there is an association in Edinburgh which aims to reinvigorate back greens as common garden spaces:
This is our 'back green', as viewed from the back of the flat. I've used the 'photostitch' function on my new Canon Powershot camera to create a kind of panorama [very exciting - the software patches photos together to create a wide-angle perspective!]. There's a slight 'fisheye' distortion, but I hope it gives you a sense of just how much space there is between us and the flats opposite. The space is divided into small plots - one per 'stair'.
This gives you a clearer view of the backs of the tenements opposite. 19th century high-rise!
No one else on our stairwell seems to use the garden. Last year, our first in this flat, C did a bit of weeding of a neglected flower bed, and mowed what grass there is. This summer we have decided we should try and breathe some life back into it and more to the point, enjoy having a garden ourselves, even if it is shared in principle with 7 other households. It doesn't get a lot of sun as it's North facing, but we should be able to grow something. More on that later - hopefully!