Technically, guerrilla gardening is a kind of graffiti or vandalism – done with plants instead of spray cans. It is illegal and is usually carried out under the cover of darkness by artists and/or activists. The targeted land is usually publicly owned or land that has been neglected by it’s owners, permission is rarely, if ever sought.
“Currently the main force behind illegal food growing in Britain is the guerrilla gardening movement.” Says Michael Hardman in his research presentation titled The Secret Life of Guerrilla Gardeners: Illegal Cultivation in the Midlands.
On the positive side – our world’s concrete jungles are transformed a little at a time into more brighter and beautiful places – all thanks to these gardeners of the night.
The average tool belt of a guerrilla gardener usually contains: A fork, hand trowel, spade, shears, seed bombs, plug plants (seedlings that you can quickly ‘plug’ in the ground), shrubs, fruit canes and plants that attract beneficial insects and the trusty moss paint, brush and stencils.
‘Guerrilla Gardening’ was a term that has it’s roots back in the 1970’s and was all thanks to Liz Christy and her Green Guerrilla Group in Manhattan. But the practice of illegally gardening or landscaping on others land is a lot older than you may think. In 1649 England Gerrard Winstanley a religious and political activist, founded a group called the True Levellers who were known by their contemporaries as the Diggers in Surrey as a result of their activities. The Diggers were known to take over public land that had been privatised by way of hedges, ditches or enclosures; and restoring the space by ripping out hedges, filling in ditches and planting crops. 1801 History also shows us John “Appleseed’ Chapman of Ohio USA can lay a claim to being an environmental activist through the planting and cultivation of Apple trees.
These days Guerrilla Gardening is more a form of creative expression carried out in an anonymous way. Other beautifying graffiti and temporal art forms can be seen on the city scapes for example the practice of yarn bombing, or paste up art (watch for the next post).
Another aspect of Guerrilla Gardening is moss painting. Below is a tutorial on how to make moss paint and some examples of use.
There are many suppliers of seed bombs out there, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, seeds and colours…… (click on the images to be redirected)
Or you can make you own from scratch, or using a kit.
I don’t want to be a kill joy, but if you do want to carry out these sorts of activities PLEASE, don’t intentionally introduce foreign plants that could have pose and ecological threat to the enviroment. Do a little research first. Aim to beautify, not destroy. THANKS 🙂
Here are some snaps of Guerrilla Gardening in all it’s anonymous glory.
Join the revolution
and beautify the