NORWICH, England—“A big thorn bush and a load of brick rubble,” says Sarah Smith, recalling the pre-pandemic state of her printing company’s yard on the outskirts of this medieval east England city.
A couple of years on, it has been transformed into a miniature mosaic of wildflowers, grasses, lavender, and poppies. There are ponds, a rock garden, a vegetable patch, herbs, and a little compost heap decomposing merrily in the sun. Birdsong battles with the thrum of the refrigeration unit at the meat wholesaler next door, bees stock up on nectar as they pass by the warehouses, and field mice scurry through the chain link fence in search of shade, seeds, and insects. It is messy and bursting with life.