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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. **
Thumbnail of guerrilla gardening - ScottBB Wild sunflowers - btc129psuTree and fence - art_n_garden