Monday 27 April 2009

Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla Gardening: I love this concept. I haven't done it myself - as my former homewe live in cottage country now and gardens abound in natural nooks and crannies of the forest. I have heard some about it, though. This is a post about these places far away from my rural life. I have inherited an extensive garden from my parents, and take delight in adding to it. We lived in a small city house in Toronto (see photo!), and this place was where we all broke free. Mom always called the property a postage stamp front lawn.

Firstly, I should define this act Guerrilla Gardening'', for it is a friendly act to improve a neglected cityscape: planting a garden where one did not exist, in the dark, on public property. While it is illegal to plant on property that is not yours, it is likely ethical with a sense of fun and community. This kind of mischief is something you cannot help but understand! Avid gardeners, some organized- this group in England, some avid planners, others a little less organized. This Toronto group fundraise tools and money for supplies, and plan their attacks. I know that a lot of my blogger friends live in bigger cities. This is a cool concept!

Wikipedia says, "Guerrilla gardening is political gardening, a form of nonviolent direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. It is related to land rights, land reform, and permaculture. Activists take over ("squat") an abandoned piece of land which they do not own to grow crops or plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or On Guerrilla Gardeningmisuse and assign a new purpose to it.
Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden. Others work more openly, seeking to engage with members of the local community, as illustrated in the examples that follow. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism."

There are many places for information. U.K. expert Reynolds has some on-line tips; he published a book on the topic. He recommends Wellies for comfort and friends for help. Don't forget, too, that you need to water your garden and take responsibility for it! I love visiting place like Niagara-on-the-lake, with its extensive plantings for the tourists.

The big deal in Ontario is the Communities in Blooms competitions that keep amateur and professional gardners on their toes!

Reynolds has a great video on seed b0mbing: wrapping seeds in a package of compost and clay to throw the seeds into hard-to-reach places. He is a character, as he stuff his wee lorrie with plants and goes off to his location. His huge International webring of friends puts out a call when they make a plan to plant. The video is just a hoot. I adore the man, and his followers. What a brilliant way to make My Town a much better looking place every day, including Monday!


Pat - Arkansas said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm going to keep my eyes open around here for opportunities to be a guerilla. :)

Leenie said...

I love it! Great idea and a lot of fun. Thanks for showing us one more way to improve the world.

debra said...

Community gardens are springing up around NE Ohio; land that was vacant is turned into garden plots by neighborhood people. It's a great idea.

Travis Erwin said...

I just heard a piece on NPR about this.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

The concept maked gardening seem somehow super cool - not that I don't already enjoy my garden. But guerilla gardening sounds awesome. Great post

George said...

I really like the concept of guerilla gardening -- a flower garden can only improve the site it is on. Thanks for the idea.