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Location: The villages of Sipson, Harlington &  Harmondsworth near Heathrow Airport, London Guerrilla Gardening: Monday 25 May 2009 On the outskirts of the world’s busiest airport, on land that BAA propose to flatten for a third run way, we built four new guerrilla gardens today. It was an epic project, a convergence of local residents of the three affected villages, a range ofCementing Activists Not Villages!
Stop Airport ExpansionChelsea Flower Show comes to Heathrow
activist groups and a well connected designer with access to some of Britain’s most famous plants. Unlike last year’s struggle to salvage from the Chelsea Flower Show Tom Hoblyn got Lyla, three Greenpeace staff and me access with a van.  Early on Sunday morning we piled it high withVisit Greenpeace's Airplot campaign site here:
No Third RunwaySalvaging at Cheslea
an array of splendid floral trophies (foxtail lilies, white foxgloves, masses of sedum and impatiens). A few weeks earlier I had been to Sipson (the village at the heart of the planned airport expansion) and briefed residents on the concept of guerrilla gardening and the opportunity it offered both as a commitment to the land but also as an activity to cement the relationship between the growing numbers of activists migrating there who were offering help. We identified several locations for new beds on bleak grassy verges close to homes thatCommunity Briefing
Guerrilla GardeningTom imparts his knowledge to me
could maintain them and earmarked the bank holiday for the big dig. The gathering of twenty locals and activists from Plane Stupid, Climate Rush, Greenpeace and split between four locations. Tom took charge of designing the patch near the curry house in Sipson and carried away the poshest plants and lady activists! I flittered between locations with Anna and Paul from Greenpeace nudging locals and activists to figure out the challenge of turning compacted grass into fertile ground and pieceHarmondsworth guerrilla garden
Designer Tom Hoblyntogether the assortment of plants into something reasonably coherent and sustainable. It was brilliant to see the initial mix of excitement and nerves turn into resourcefulness, satisfaction and competitiveness! 87 year old Tommy instructed activists on the need to ‘penguin walk’ freshly dug ground, Audrey sorted out the watering problem by sharing a hose with the bike campaigners and their big water bottles and Veronica made plans to plant her namesake in place
Guerrilla Gardeningof our straggly Rsoemary. Read more here.
Location: Around South Central London This spring a variety of edibles have been added to existing guerrilla gardens. And the harvest has begun. Ben 2110 and I tentatively enjoyed our first crispy serving of guerrilla grown lollo rossa from the rather dirty roundabout of the Elephant & Castle. A packet of seeds sown two months before had flourished disguised amongst the wallflowers and aubrietia. Where Rosemary beetles had eaten chunks out of our lavender field we replaced it with cabbages, mange tout and distracting pink marguerites. And I restored two empty hanging baskets with tumbling toms Guerrilla Veg
The police watch the planting of Hispi cabbageLollo rossa lettuce at the Elephant & Castle
 Location: Crewkerne, Somerset Two years ago Ben 2676, Lily 2677 and Noor 2678 showed me their little wheat field sown in a tree pit outside their local supermarket. Sadly the hoped for harvest did not flourish, but I heard that their guerrilla produce has begun once again outside the new even bigger supermarket in what was an empty concrete planter. I stopped to have a look on a recent journey to the west country and found a wonderful wigwam with runner beans growing up it, onions around the edge and nearby a row of young sunflower seedlings each marked with a stake that carried a guerrilla name. April 2009
Lily 2677 before the gardeningLooking good when I stop by to inspect!
Location: Across the world Guerrilla Gardening: Friday 1 May 2009 For the third year running May 1 was a day for planting sunflower seeds around your local area. It’s an idea from Brussels, but it’s become International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day! This year over 1,200 people joined the May Day Sowing
Facebook event and made plans to get outInternational Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day 2009
the city, Pietro 1816 did it in Rome, Ruairí 8226, a Green Party Councillor in Dublin handed out hundreds of seeds, Cat 7415 in Roanoke Virginia went guerrilla gardening with her 2½ year old daughter, Eoin 6174 was one of many in The Netherlands taking part, and  Chris 2927 in Fayetteville, North Carolina posted a report of a dig too. On my home turf ten of us, (including remarkably also a wheel chair user) went around the Elephant & Castle prodding seeds into bare verges along the roads. For more reports, photos and to follow progress Cape Town
dasdasdaof the seeds please click here to see the eventsd
Location: Stamford Street, London, SE1 Guerrilla Gardening: Sunday 19 April 2009 This central London patch has been guerrilla gardened for two years now. Sunflowers have been the primary crop and a few strawberries but we’ve been keen to grow more food here for a while. The impetus to get going came fromGrow Our Own
my visit to the National Vegetable Society in
Canterbury. I talked about guerrilla gardening and afterwards Brian gave me trays of young veg seedlings. So Andrew 1679, Sunny 1600, Susannah 2877 and I gathered at 6.30pm to weed, plant and sow our veg and mulch a bit. Clearing the weeds from our traffic island
Lyla with a tray of mangetoutHispi cabbage & Mulching
At the National Vegetable Society
Spring onions, mangetout, cabbages and tomatoesWho gets the eat the veg is the big question? Us or passers by? To be frank we’d rather passers by didn’t harvest the cabbages, mangetout, spring onions, green beans and strawberries, which is why we’ve hidden them amongst our snap dragons, pot marigolds (good for deterring bugs) and small (but growing) clumps of montbretia. As for their nutritional value... well there is the issue of pollution to reconcile. Two years of growing sunflowers here should have taken some of the possible lead out of the soil and we believe a good wash should suffice - all part of a well balanced diet of poisons.
Location: Hazel / College Road London NW10 What was to be a dig with four of us turned into a force of more than ten today as Jenny 1636, a new and local recruit via Al Jazeera TV brought along her extended family. Also new (though less local) were two Japanese women who had heard about us on TV back home. So it was spooky, given the impact of TV at recruiting for this dig, that a TV was there littering the garden! You can view my very short video snap of the dig here.Unexpected Impact
Location: St George’s Hill Surrey, UK. Guerrilla Gardening: 1 April 2009 On 1 April 1649 on the outskirts of the village of Cobham Gerrard Winstanley led a group up St George’s Hill to plant vegetables on what was common ground - for grazing but not for gardening. It was a response to rising food prices and sense of political injustice. I see this as an early act of guerrilla gardening and find Winstanley’s story inspiring. His political aims went beyond those of most guerrilla gardeners I have met and his legacy lives on within a wide range of movements. By coincidence perhaps,360 Years of Digging
the G20 protests in London took place on the 360th anniversary of this guerrilla gardening but I spotted his name cited as inspiration for the “Black Horse” march from Cannon Street. It made sense to go along, to mark the day, and discuss Winstanley’s ideas. Despite media reports and some brutal incidents elsewhere that day, the march I attended was tense but chatty. I handed out sunflower seeds and discussed guerrilla gardening with all sorts of people who were, there to raise awareness of homelessness, inequitable land distribution, the need for land tax and housing policy. Later in the day
Lyla 1046 and Heather 1986 at The Diggers memorialLyla 1046, and Heather 1986 headed for the St George Hill to mark the day and make our mark. A small stone memorial was erected ten years ago in commemoration and we set about sowing a few sunflowers around it. Unfortunately directly opposite this symbolic location was a layby in which a police car was parked. Within a few minutes of a pottering around with trowels and seeds the car drove over to pull in next to us and an officer got out to enquire about our actions. After we had shared our horticultural tips with him he left (but like the officers in London, he refused
Heather 1986 and me sowing at Redhill Roadmy gift of sunflower seeds) we continued on towards Redhill Road, which is marked as near the location of Gerrard’s dig in 1649. We planted a few more symbolic sunflowers (optimistically hoping a few might survive this shady location). The opportunity to plant further up St George’s Hill is not available without break in and trespass (so we didn’t). Compared with 1649 the hill is now a gated community of luxurious homes. So we finished our journey at the nearby Silvermere golf and leisure complex, and told the barman about his local history. With some satisfying curiosity, he took our sunflower seeds.

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