McElhone Place, Surry Hills
The first thing that hits you is the smell of flowers in bloom as you round the corner into McElhone Place. It’s a small lane in Surry Hills which has taken urban gardening to the next level. What started by one colourful window box display in an attempt to break up the concrete monotony, has become an all-resident rebellion against the grey. Every homeowner now actively decorates the front of their houses with pot plants, trellises, and every colour of flower imaginable. This slice of paradise in the middle of the city has flourished over time, complementing the bold blue and bright red paint jobs of a few of the houses. Locals know this lane as ‘Cat Alley’, and while we didn’t spot any cats when we visited, there were water bowls aplenty to satisfy the furry locals. It feels like you could be in Provence or beside a cute cottage in the English countryside. There are a few plaques and awards from the City of Sydney that commend residents on their green space, and rightly so. Sit down among the flowers on a sunny day and enjoy this incredible community effort. Melbourne currently has a few laneways that have begun a greening process, but they have nothing on McElhone Place.