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Guerilla Gardening - What is it?

By Susanne Talbert (art_n_gardenJanuary 19, 2009
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Equally daring and endearing, if not a little illegal, Guerilla Gardening is a movement taking some parts of the world by storm. What is it, you ask? Read on for a brief introduction to this interesting alliance of tactical growers.

Gardening picture

If you search for "guerilla gardening" on the web, you will find a plethora of rants and raves about the movement.  But if you have never heard of it, then well, it's likely you'd never know about it.  A definition of the term can even be found in Dave's Garden Garden Terms section, which states that guerilla gardening is "gardening on a piece of property, usually public land that does not belong to you."

Guerilla gardening is the act of gardening or otherwise improving the aesthetics of an area that has been left abandoned or unkempt and has become a general eyesore to the public.  Guerilla gardeners seek to improve these areas, usually surreptitiously, by picking up trash, putting in new plants, and maintaining the space by weeding and watering.  Groups of organized guerillas often form in online groups and meet under the cover of night to complete a whole transformation in just a matter of hours.  Guerilla gardeners are also just your average, unplanned plant lovers who seek to improve the area in which they live.  Sometimes they ask permission, sometimes they ask for forgiveness after the fact. 

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Active "Chapters"

If you know the story of Johnny Appleseed, you know that the concept of guerilla gardening is not new.  There are a couple well-known and active groups out there to know about. 

Green Guerillas 

In the 1970s, a group called Green Guerillas was started to combat empty and ugly vacant lots around New York City.   Today the organization remains a stronghold for sustainability within city limits, championing over 600 community gardens.  The organization also seeks to unify other non-profits in order to fight hunger as well as rally community gardens and organizations. The creator of the group, Liz Christy, founded a garden which is still maintained today in her name as a beautiful green oasis within New York City.  You can read more about the garden's history and see more pictures here.   

To read more about Green Guerillas and their fight for urban sustainability, visit their website. 

Guerrilla Gardeners

A well organized movement across parts of Europe which officially calls itself Guerrilla Gardeners, was started by Richard Reynolds in London in 2004.  He runs a highly trafficked blog, through which people share their personal successes and struggles of Guerrilla Gardening around Great Britain.  Participants take on big brother-esque aliases such as Amanda 5637 and Andy 157.  Reynolds is well known for rallying his troops with the saying, "Let's fight the filth with forks and flowers."  He also recently published a book on his gardening plight called, On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening without Boundaries.  Other books have been published on the subject, such as Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto, by David Tracey.

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What do they say about the best inventions result from war?

As Plato once wrote, necessity is the mother of invention...and so came about seed bombs (as referred to by Guerrilla Gardeners) and Green-aids (as referred to by Green Guerillas).  This technique is not just for guerillas, but could also be used by the average backyard gardener.  With a mix of clay, seeds, and fertilizer, seeds bombs make for the perfect, effortless "weapon" against hard-to-garden-in spaces such as fenced in lots or the big, wild hill behind your house. 

A short video how-to on seed bombs

DG's own Sharon Brown (Sharran) wrote a fantastic article about seed balls, as they are sometimes called, if you wanted to read more. 

Now that you know what Guerilla Gardening is, you might just look at the abandoned lot across the way from your work a little differently.

**Please note that this article does not represent any support or condoning of the Guerilla Gardening movement on behalf of Dave's Garden. This is purely meant as an informative piece.   **

 

Citation:

http://www.mediarights.org/news/2008/07/15/resistance_is_fertile_its_time_to_start_guerrilla_gardening

Photo credits:

Thumbnail of guerrilla gardening - ScottBB  
Wild sunflowers - btc129psu
Tree and fence - art_n_garden


  About Susanne Talbert  
Susanne TalbertI garden in beautiful Colorado Springs, half a mile from Garden of the Gods. Since we bought our first house two years ago, I have been busy revamping my 1/4 acre of ignored decomposed granite. My garden passions include water gardening, vines, super-hardy perennials, and native xerics. By day, I am a high school ceramics teacher as well as a ceramicist and painter.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
My guerilla garden project missy99912 0 10 Feb 16, 2009 4:29 PM
Live in LA-Join my GG group ScottBB 2 24 Jan 25, 2009 9:49 PM
Indigenous or native S_Cumberland 0 9 Jan 21, 2009 12:48 AM
Loved the article! Sundownr 2 9 Jan 20, 2009 3:23 PM
DESTRUCTIVE MENACE? PLANT OR PERSON S_Cumberland 1 29 Jan 20, 2009 6:18 AM
Ninja Gardening dahlianut 1 19 Jan 20, 2009 4:46 AM
So there's a name.... Chantell 5 86 Jan 19, 2009 10:32 PM
dry clay cathy4 6 38 Jan 19, 2009 10:24 PM
guerilla gardening steadycam3 3 84 Jan 19, 2009 9:47 PM
seed bombs paulineristeau 2 74 Jan 19, 2009 8:51 PM
Suggestions for South Florida? FloridaFlwrGirl 2 29 Jan 19, 2009 5:00 PM
A Guerrilla of my own Noturf 2 59 Jan 19, 2009 4:44 PM
Research carefully before "bombing" Shapeshft 1 69 Jan 19, 2009 4:33 PM
Yea! I'm not the only one! Peachykeen 0 26 Jan 19, 2009 4:32 PM
It has a name! aardvark7 0 26 Jan 19, 2009 4:13 PM
Payback meezersfive 1 62 Jan 19, 2009 3:35 PM
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