There is no longer quiet on the home front. The cascading public planters beneath my tower block in London’s Elephant & Castle that I have tended since October 2004 are once again contested space. Until now 14 months peace had reigned there as an amicable truce was agreed between Southwark Council’s housing office, the negligent horticultural contractors and me. The council even surveyedWar! Southwark Council fire a tax bomb shell at guerrilla gardening
Me by the gardens in happier summer daysThe garden's Green Corners Award
esidents to seek objections and received none. My three year campaign guerrilla gardening there (with help from other residents and guerrillas from far and wide) resulted in triumph: the council gave me verbal approval to continue gardening with the simple condition that I must give them one month’s notice should I want to stop, they refunded residents of all ninety flats three year’s worth of their fraudulent grounds maintenance charges (about £100) and assured us
future charges would be dropped while I continued gardening there. Were the guerrilla tactics necessary? Yes. The council told me that had I asked before I gardened I would never have got permission. It was a win-win situation as I saw it. I got to garden and everyone else got the garden for free. Since that agreement in September 2007, enthused by the confidence that comes from gardening legitimately I have invested more of my time and money into the public beds and in return the garden has flourished – last month we were awarded a GREEN CORNERS AWARD from the Conservation Foundation ‘for brightening London and enriching the city’s bio-diversity’. Even now, in late November the yellow Dahlia ‘Party’ are holding up well, the Paris daises (Argyranthemum frutescens) continue their speckled white show and some winter pansies stoically give some cheer at the front. The garden is beginning to relax for its natural holiday season before the exertions of spring. But, despite the military convention of holding back from war in winter that’s just what has been declared in the form of a dispatch from Southwark Council to every resident in Perronet House.What follows is a cathartic download of the new troubles; a detailed journey from the start of the recent troubles to the moment Southwark pressed the big red button. If you can bear a tale of red tape, ruffled feathers and
bonkers bureaucracy then read on:CLICK HERE(posted at the low graphic high speed duplicate blog).
Will 3902, a student from Goldsmiths is doing a project on DIY culture and his e-mail asking to meet arrived just as I was preparing for a solo bulb planting mission around the Elephant & Castle. So I got him along and planting. We put in more “Oxford” red tulips, Allium Christophii and Narcissi “Jet Fire” in three established guerrilla gardens,More bulbs
including the bed wherepolice had interveened in
April and insisted we stop. Today all was well in the garden and there was no police intrusion.Will 3092 planting bulbs
 Location: Alexandrovsky Park, Moscow, Russia Guerrilla Gardening: Friday 31 October 08 I was in Moscow recently to speak about guerrilla gardening at a conference on the Indentity of Cities. This was a chance to plant a memorial to the first guerrilla gardener who is commemorated on a Moscow Memorial
granite memorial right outside The Kremlin. He was an Englishman called Gerrard Winstanley, who in1649 began growing vegetables on a hillside in Surrey. He also wrote inspirational pamphlets on what his community of Diggers were up to, and this is how he came to be commemorated on a RussianClick to see video
Russian memorial erected in 1918. After dark I visited the memorial, assisted by fellow delegates Ali 1210, Paula 1243 and Ekaterina 1244. I had a bag of red tulips (Tulipa Oxford) and a trowel and with out any hiccups cut a hole into the ground and planted the tribute. The location was sheltered so hopefully they’ll survive the Russian winter. Ekaterina, Ali and Paula
To view a short video ofthe dig click here. (Please
remember if you are gardening abroad do not try and take your trowel in aeroplane hand luggage. I forgot and mine was confiscated at Domodedovo)Richard Reynolds in Alexandrovsky Park Moscow Russia
Location: Half way up Denmark Hill, London SE5 Guerrilla Gardening: Saturday 25 October 08 I spent most of today cycling around SouthwarkM.O.R. Bulbs
planting. First stop waswith The Southwark Cyclists
Nursery Rowthe local community are
campaigning to prevent construction. We planted some young saplings to thicken up the hedge. I cycled on solo to meet my brother Kit 018 for guerrilla gardening in the middle of the road on Denmark Hill. As blogged below this is the narrow median strip that I planted a packet of sunflowers in earlier in the year. It’s a perilous location but without so much as a honking horn or decapitation dug a trench along half its length (for now) and put in a long row of daffodils - not just any old daffodils but white ones with orange cups. We took turn with my little camera and videoed theGuerilla gardening in Denmark Hill London
mid day mission whichis posted here. Then onto
Herne Hill for leading the inaugural dig of the Regents & Railton Road Community Gardeners. Kit 018 planting daffodils (Narcissus 'Sempre Avanti') in the middle of the road
CrunchMalus domestic 'Red Windsor'
Location: Westminster Bridge Rd, London. Guerrilla Gardening: Tuesday 21 October 08 It was crunch time on two accounts this evening. We planted an apple tree (Malus domestica ‘Windsor Red’) inspired by vague rumours of Apple Day. It’s a crunchy self-pollinating variety grown on miniature M27 root stock so it will suit this traffic island nicely. And down the road at St George’s Circus there was a deep drift of crunchy leaves drowning our shrubs, which we raked off leaving the rotten lower layer as a rich mulch.Celebrating Apple Day
A Refreshing SurpriseKensal Green Tube station - The Dig
Location: Hazel Road, Kensal Green, London NW10. Guerrilla Gardening: Sunday 19 21 October 08 At half past eight in the evening three of us were weeding the raised beds near Kensal Green tube station when a local resident startled us with the offer of hot tea. It’s been a while since we had a ‘comfort mission’ (this is the technical guerrilla jargon for refreshment). It fueled us for a long evening getting this embarrassingly weedy patch back under control. We planted daffodils (Narcissi 'Sempre Avanti') around the edge and adding to the still fairly empty patches under the trees with some shade tolerant plants including six beautiful Heuchera (‘Plum Pudding’, ‘Creme Brule’ and ‘Can Can’) and a few perky pink Cyclamen persicum. Cycalmen persicum in the guerrilla garden
Location: Marchmont Street, London. Guerrilla Gardening: 15 October 08. I get asked to talk to all sorts of audiences about guerrilla gardening
(click here formore info). But
this was my first that involved guerrilla gardening too. It was part of the Play course at TheA seed bomb
School of LifeStudents brought
spring bulbs which we planted in the bare soil beneath the newly renovated Brunswick Centre. I also experimented with a bit ofPlanting bulbs outside the Brunswick Centre
seed bombingClick hereto
learn how to make a seed bomb.
Guerrilla Gardening Haberdashery DivisionLavender Pillows
Location: A living room in Forest Hill and a flat in deepest Shepherd’s Bush Stitching & Stuffing: Sunday 12 October 08 and for many days after that. Our harvest of lavender is dry and this years linen has been printed so I gathered together the Haberdashery Division for an intoxicating afternoon of sewing little pillows of fragrant lavender.
We sell these to raise money for more guerrilla gardening. You can buy them byclicking here.
To see a short film I cobbled together about the making of the pillows click here and visitvisit YouTube.
Bloom TimeTim 035 and Angela 2057 guerrilla gardening
Location Westminster Bridge Road London Guerrilla Gardening Thursday 2 October 2008. With a gloomy mood about the city we set out to make some solid investments that would be sure to bloom. So four of us came back to the lavender field to plant some little Crocus tomasianus bulbs around the edge and some pink Cyclamen persicum in an empty corner facing the oncoming traffic. We also found space for three pots of hydrangea that I’ve been nursing back to health since the Recycled Garden show
In case you’re wondering about the suitability of these I’ll admit these are a speculative gamble. Unlike most of what we plant these are thirsty plants, so although it’s wet now I’ll need to return and give them a good drenching from time to time until they become well established and reward
us with a show of pink, white and blue pom pomsThe photo journalist Anna M Weaver joined us.
Forgotten sunflowers of Denmark HillHelianthus annuss 'Russian Giant' in south London.
I’d forgotten all about planting these sunflowers. Back in May I was passing here, pulled over and prodded in the contents of half a packet of seeds in what was a barren central reservation on the busy Denmark Hill. It’s a dicey location, not one to spend long on for fear of getting decapitated by a passing truck, but I forgot to even make a brief return visit for weeding or anything. It was down to nature to take on the fight to brighten up this road. Now, nearly five months on.they are towering as high as a double decker bus and look like they have weeks of life left in them yet. Slugs had no chance of tracking them down here on this island of fertility in a desert of tarmac. Some had been damaged by passing traffic but it just goes to show how easy guerrilla gardening can be!Guerrilla gardening on Demark Hill

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