Wednesday, 28 December 2011

On Guerilla Gardening - Richard Reynolds

'"Let's fight the filth with forks and flowers!"

"On Guerilla Gardening" is an activist's call to arms to all citizens - green-fingered, green thinking or curious - to join the revolution of guerilla gardening: transforming public spaces into oases of colour and life. The enemy: neglect, apathy and the disintegration of community spirit. The arsenal: daring, a packet of seeds and a passionate commitment to social change.

When Richard Reynolds first embarked on guerilla gardening, growing flowers by moonlight outside his tower block, he did so as a lone activist but he became a vocal champion for a growing global movement. Charting the battles fought across thirty different countries and the revolutionary history of this subculture, "On Guerilla Gardening" is an inspirational take on Gardening in the 21st century.' "

So reads the blurb on the back of the book. I found this book, quite recently, in a second hand shop (selling mostly clothes actually but with a couple of small bookshelves) so my copy is a recycled book too. Last January/February when I started walking with a friend, following my knee surgery, we discovered a little garden that had been built around a group of silver birch trees on the edge of a public space and over the course of a couple of weeks we weeded it. We didn't know we were being guerilla gardeners then. The garden looked so much nicer and people noticed and came up to us on the street congratulating us on our efforts which was very nice. Then an elderly man from a nearby house came and told us that his wife used to care for this garden but now she is in residential care, and since then, the garden had gone to weed. Sadly we didn't get our guerilla garden planted before the winter and it will now need weeding again, but I am quite likely to weed and plant it next month because this book has quite inspired me. If I do, I will post a picture of it.

Really the book (and the movement) is aimed at neglected and abandoned spaces in large towns and cities. The gardens mentioned are mostly in public spaces but some are also on private, neglected lots where the owners are clearly absent and uncaring. Not all guerilla gardens last forever, some are torn up by local council workers or perhaps the vacant lot is going to be built on. Some guerilla gardens are just small plots with a few flowers, others become larger community gardens filled with flowers, herbs and vegetables, and help to feed poorer people.

And though it is a completely different kind of project, this book is inspiring me when I think about the Oxford Track about which I posted a picture blog about yesterday. Many of the strategies could be taken on board for this project too.

"On Guerilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries" was first published in 2008 by Bloomsbury.

More information about guerilla gardening can be found on this website

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