Make a donationTroop DigsGetting Started


Six of us returned to the blooming lavender fields of Southwark to join the bumble bees, but whilst they sapped nectar we bagged litter and tugged weeds that have all enjoyed London’s months of drizzle - the sweet aroma nearly knocked us out. Our first sunflowers of the season have just come into bloom as great yellow beacons on the traffic island.  The Bus drivers, cabbies and motorists stopped or bleeped to cheer us on from behind their wheels. Hurrah.Olly Zanetti 2087 and Sarah Christie 265 guerrilla gardening in Southwark
Every gardener gets nervous when they have to leave their patch to the mercy of nature for extended periods. Whilst a guerrilla gardener can delegate to troops it is still a risk to step back from a front line you are most familiar with.  This June I was away for three weeks and during this time someone The blooming guerrilla gardens of Perronet House in late June 2007
struck with good intentions but sadly devastating results.  A neighbour tells me “the council did it” - which would make it their first bit of “gardening” here in over three years. The mystery clipper-happy fools have massacred the ancient Butterfly Bush just as it was about to bloom, dug up my two Yarrow plants and destroyed all but one of my Swiss Chard seedlings.  IRuthless, wreckless, pointless, mindless, ignorant pruning... allegedly by Southwark Council contractors while I was away
contacted a councillor - who whilst not agreeing to a cessation of violence - has agreed to meet to negotiate.  I repaired the damage with a mat of Marigolds, and planted new Chard seeds.  Elsewhere in the Elephant my giant climbing nasturtiums have sprouted and the white Japanese anemone has come into flower.Japanaese Anemone and Butterfly Bush outside Perronet House on London Road
My Guerrilla Gardening Europe Research Trip Photo Album June 2007
Drive By Dig: Obory Czech Republic. This is a tale of an opportunistic dig whilst abroad.  On June 15th I was in Austria to give a presentation at a garden symposium. At the closing party in Stiff Melk I spotted plants decorating the stage were going spare. I was gladly given them to put to good use.  The next day I set off by car for Berlin with my eyes peeled for a suitable guerrilla gardening location and a place to buy a tool - I foolishly forgot to pack my trowel. Speeding through the Czech countryside I passed a striking but grotty bus stop (I love bus stops).  The integrated flower bed was empty, so I dug in the well traveled geranium and thyme, watering them liberally with tap water from the petrol station near by and hoped for the best.Salvaging plants from Stiff Melk and finding the tools and location to guerrilla garden in the Czech RepublicGuerrilla gardening in the Czech Republic near Obory
Adam (276) and Donald (277), two veteran New York guerrillas, impressed upon me in September that the media is valuable to us. They can not just attract support but can also help protect guerrilla gardens and can even bring authorities onto our side - so everyone’s a winner. After the garden I have been cultivating outside my tower block got vandalised by a council cleaner another resident passed the story on to the local press.  They soon whipped up a pun-tastic headline and printed a supportive story which included a positive quote from the council about our gardens.  Click the headline to download a PDF of the full story.Guerrilla Gardeners Goes Ape
Back in April we planted a triangle in central London with Rowan, Giant sunflower seeds, Red Flax, and other traffic light coloured stuff. Andrew 1679 and I have returned to water but now, seven weeks later, although the sunflowers are three foot high the weeds are also catching up.  Six of us, including Rob (120) who jumped off a bus when he recognised us at work, spent an hour and a half satisfyingly clearing them.Guerrilla gardening at Stamford St London
Guerrilla Gardening 5 June 2007 Albert Embankment, London. The call up from Rosie was posted on the Community board. It was time for a return to Vauxhall and another coordinated attack on a orphaned tree pit.  Having transformed two back in April, this time we were braced for the terrible builder’s rubble soil.  After cutting back the scraggy shrubs and forking the remains out came two shiny new riddles, and we soon Andrew, Gavin, Rick, Rosie, Olly, Rob and Caroline
filled seven sacks with pebbles, some of which, judging by the nice round shape, was once shingle on the railway viaduct above us.  In went peat free compost, “Kew Red” lavender, pelargonium, and a few unidentified bargain bin annuals. We approached the local cafe for water that were delighted and presented us with a huge box of creamy buns.  Onwards to our previous planting, a little sprucing and more free food from the Italians!Guerrilla gardening in Vauxhall
Project Twenty Six: Elephant & Castle SE1 London, Guerrilla gardening: Wednesday 30 May 2007. Budget: £2.98. For almost exactly three years the view from my 6th floor flat has been slowly getting worse. The council maintenance of the grassy shrubbery of the Elephant & Castle roundabout is just an occasional strim, perhaps because it will all be dug up and redeveloped in a few years.  But this evening I finally got round to doing something cheap and simple that will cheer the place up.  Even at night the place is teeming with police and workmen so I took the advice of Helmut 1831 from Rotterdam and put on a fluorescent disguise. I was confident this would make me invisible but the workmen soon spotted me.  My yellow jacket contrasted vividly with their orange!  Regardless, they were friendly. We chatted about allotments, they kept an eye on my camera, and seemed happy with my explanation that I was planting seeds.  I dug a long trench along the edge of the subway fence (perfect for burying aA new bed goes in along the fence in the middle of the Elephant & Castle roundabout
dead anaconda) but also for growing extra tall Nasturtium. These can climb 6 foot high, so will hopefully cover the fence by September.  Amongst them I scattered ‘Ladybird’ poppies. If I keep the grass clear the strimmers will hopefully avoid this new bed.Poppy 'Ladybird' and Nastursium 'Tall Single Mixed' before guerrilla gardening in Southwark
This week London’s tourist board covered the elegant stone
of Trafalgar Square for two days with 2000 metres of tuf “to promote London’s green spaces and villages.”  It looked incredible, crowds flocked, it showed us all how sterile hard places can be transformed with gardens.  But whilst it caught the popular imagination it is also a symbol of London’s neglect of public space and short term approach to gardening. The space was already beautiful.  We should celebrate the city’s permanent public green spaces by investing in them, not by building temporary new ones!  And while I rant remember lawns are still the asphalt of the gardening world. For an immaculate green carpet huge quantities of water and chemicals are required. According to H C Flores in “Food not Lawns” mowing for an hour is the equivalent of driving 350 miles”.  The grass in Trafalgar Square has not just beenGuerilla gardening in Trafalgar square
mowed but also clocked up hundreds of miles being driven from Yorkshire and moved onto its final resting place in Hammersmith. So in protest last night Andy 343 and I dug up a square and replaced it with a beautiful pansy (Viola). People were pleased to see the pansy, they stoped to take photographs, a dog sniffed it.  When a security guard picked up the plant he was met by a outburst of jeers, so he put it back and was rewarded with cheers.  The people of London want real greenary, not just token greenary!  To bid for the turf visit the link on the London board in the Community.Guerrilla gardening in Trafalgar Square

For blogs earlier in the year clickFor blogs earlier in the year click here