The land at the back of their council flats was an eyesore. Overgrown, attracting fly tippers and vandals. Today, it is a community garden where children play and families grow vegetables.
The transformation was the idea of one resident with a love of gardening who persuaded the council to provide practical and financial help. It has been so successful that people in other parts of Southampton have been inspired to tackle their own derelict areas.
Kerry Swain has been following their project since the beginning and has this special report.
Now it could be a sign of tough financial times, or perhaps people pursuing a healthy, outdoor lifestyle. Whatever the reason, thousands of grow-your-own gardeners are queuing up to join the waiting list for an allotment.
Our reporter David Wood has been mixing with the green-fingered fraternity on their plots at Marlow, in the Thames Valley, to find out more about a growing hobby.
A small stone statue of St Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners and Paris cab-drivers, will be unveiled in Portsmouth next month. The statue will be revealed at a ceremony in the Porter's Garden at the city's Historic Dockyard on February 6.
St Fiacre is believed to have been born in Ireland in the late 6th century, later sailing to France in search of closer solitude for his devotions, where he made himself a cell with a garden, and established a chapel and hospice for travellers.
The cab connection originates from the naming of French cabs as Fiacres, so called because the first establishment to let coaches on hire in the mid-17th century was in the Rue Saint-Martin, near the Hotel Saint-Fiacre in Paris.