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NEWS: Sunday 27 July 2009 Location: Elephant & Castle, London It’s been nearly three months now since International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day and the impact is just beginning to show. The sunflowers in my neighbourhood have recently come into flower and there are plenty more to come, giants amongst the concrete forest, defiant against what has become a wet summer. If you took part in the big guerrilla sunflower event thenHere Come The Sunflowers - Sunflowers outside Perronet House, London, SE1
please do share your progress
Elephant & CastleDenmark Hill
Location: Lewes Road, Brighton, UK Visit: Saturday 25 July 2009 Excuse my mangling of military terms but take note these guerrilla gardeners have made a lively community space, and got legitimisation all with lightening speed. I visited them on a rare sunny afternoon to hear more and was shown around by a very friendly bunch of triumphant gardeners. Guerrilla Blizkrieg In Brighton
The space had been a derelict petrol station for five years until Duncan started guerrilla gardening there this spring. He soon had hundreds helping him take over the space, filling the concrete pipe  bollards with soil and plants, building raised beds, turning baths and toilets into floral tubs (a staple design feature of any informal community garden), and turfing a new lawn. All donations currently go towards paying the neighbours water bill, since they run a hose into butts, but we discussed how to harvest rain water if they use some of the huge space to capture it. The land is privately owned, but with a petition of thousands and a little pressure from a local Green Party councillor, Snow white looks over the garden
 to build - which will not be for at least 9 months. The place reminds me of visiting the one time guerrilla gardens of New York’s Lower East Side.
Do visit their Facebook page and the garden.
The Lewes Road Community GardenGordon prepares some pheasant road kill on the BBQ beneath their new mural.  The tiger harks back to the land’s former use as a petrol station.
Location: All arond Zurich, Switzerland Guerrilla Gardening: Monday 20 July 09 I did a spot of guerrilla gardening in Zurich with Alice 122 a few years ago, but our bulbs were insignificant compared with the 25-year career of Maurice Maggi, also known as the “flower graffiti” person or “Hollyhock Man”. Zurich has many generously proportioned tree pits and he has scattered hollyhock seeds in them for years, so much so that at this time of the year you’d be hard pressed to miss the hollyhocks anywhere in the city. He has made Zurich an even more wonderful place and he joined me at Spheres bookZurich: Home of the Hollyhock
shop were I gave a talk to a crowd of 150 or so about guerrilla gardening before Maurice led us on a walking tour of his tree pits. Someone from the city authorities came along too, keen to make the point that he now encouraged such activity and wanted Zurich to be seen alongside the other forward-thinking cities that I describe in the last chapter of my book. You can see a love of nature is built into the Zurich’s form - even tram stops have holes cut in the roof to accommodate trees and contractors leave self sown and guerrilla sown flowering plants if they spot them making an effort on the grassy verges. This was a great Maurice Maggi amongst more hollyhocks
end of the tour. To see more photos click here.
The return to KornhaustrasseMaurice leads us on a tour of his tree pits
My hosts. Riverside drinks before dinnerA tram stop built around a tree. A great city.
My book, in German, on the goA bike and hollyhock share a treepit
NEWS: Horticultural hero hits headlines
Guerrilla Gardening: 5 July 2009  A guerrilla gardener, in great fear of revealing his identity, is once again on a mission in Essex. Eye catchingly disguised as a shrub (though his leaves have dropped off since his first outing to leave just a curvaceous mossy body) he is setting a sterling example for how bringing a little fun and mischief to a tedious problem can excite lots of people into backing the cause. Read more aboutHuman shrub strikes again!
him here.
Wilm 2195 sent me photos first. He had spotted an ideal guerrilla gardening location - a grassy tree pit in Gartenstraße (Garden Street) directly outside the walls of the city’s prison. And so, a few days later I found myself far from home cutting into the deep German turf lit by a clear moon and planting a pair of Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum),.Coreopsis, Kohlrabi and lettuces. Helping him out on his second guerrilla gardening dig seemed the polite thing to do, and a great end to the evening. On The Road: Gartenstrasse Munster
GartenstrasseWilm 2195 with our guerrilla garden
Wilm was my host for the weekend. He had invited me to his splendid allotment to give a talk to the audience of the Free Garden Academy
Frei GartenakedemieBefore the gardening
We projected onto a screen propped up behind his fish pond and the rain held off for the night.11.44PM The finished guerrilla garden
The audience for the talk
The best part of talking to interested gatherings is discovering who inThe allotment, complete with Shakespeare
the audience is already a guerrilla gardener. And sure enough I was told of a woman in the south who became notorious for planting cabbages in a graveyard and I met a Heike 8244 who grew up with guerrilla gardening grandparents and has successfully grown three walnut trees in Münster by throwing the nuts from her balcony onto the public land below. This visit is one of several I’ll be making to cities in Germany over the next week (Frankfurt,Berlin, Stuttgart) and to Zürich to speak about and meet guerrilla gardeners
Heike 8244's WalnutsFor more information about these and other talks visit the TALKS page here.
Location: St George’s Road, London, SE1 Guerrilla Gardening: Tuesday 30 June 09 “Hotter than Bangkok,” said the newspapers of London’s weather today. And it’s getting hotter. Despite planting to avoid the need for much watering, (and having avoided quenching all but my two hydrangea last summer) I’ve been busy this year with large scale guerrilla watering, and recalling that various tips I’ve picked up from other guerrilla gardeners about how to get water when you’re out and about gardening. My technique, as pictured, is to commandeer an old supermarket trolley (mine actually came free with my flat!) and old office water dispenser bottles. Although getting this heavy, drippy contraption up a kerb stone requires one hell of a tug, I know of no better approach using man power alone. A watering can hangs off the hand bag peg at the back to decant your payload into. Come Friendly Rain!
Andrew 1679 carries a squidgy plastic water box in his back pack, Peter 1532 in Plymouth use old army petrol cans (though risks suspicion for arson as he douses the garden in Church Rd). Further afield Margareeta 898 has worked out she does not need to carry water from her first floor flat to water her street pots, because she can angle a can quite accurately out of the window.
All this advice assumes you have a water supply. Some of the lugging can be avoided if you find a source nearby. Silvano 2042 told me he made use of a leaky toilet cistern for weeks after noticing its wasteful drips and placing a tub underneath. A request for water is also a simple intro for getting others looking after the garden. Rosie 1485 and I got a restaurant watering beds, Zsuzsa 2924 got the church in Budapest anointing plants. Even if you didn’t plant what needs watering, take it on. Young new street trees need all the help they can get in hot weather. (For all but the most thirsty plants the key is a good soaking occasionally rather than a dribble regularly so the roots don’t get drawn towards the surface.)
Location: London, Toronto, Dublin Guerrilla Gardening: Late May, early June 09 This is a busy time for guerrilla gardeners enjoying an early summer. I have reports of groups across north America organising mass planting and seed bombing excursions, the sunflowers of May 1 are shooting up, new bedding and veg need watering and established guerrilla gardens get into their herbaceous growth spurt. But my thoughts turn to where else in my local area could do with a guerrilla greening beyond the usual target of verges and neglected flowerbeds? Here’s a profile of some recent activity here in London and by others over seas that make use of less obvious urban canvases. Off The Wall guerilla gardening
Posterchild 3261's flyer boxes in Toronto
Politician's packed with dirt (and flowers)Posterchild 3261 is a street artist in Toronto. I met him two years ago for a tour of his guerrilla wall boxes that he had made and hung around the city. He kindly gave me
Mick 2185 has been recycling political posters and turning them into flower boxes. He’s campaigning for an independent candidate in the forthcoming South Dublin elections who is not using poster one to take back to London, and I’ve finally got round to putting it up on a blank hoarding on a derelict building up the road from me - my first guerrilla gardening with a power drill but no one seemed troubled by this. Now
advertising. Instructions for making them are here. Posterchild 3261 has returned to guerrilla gardening
with an ingenious new use for the empty flyer boxes that litter the streets of his city. A triangular wooden flower box neatly slots inside. Visit his blog to see more of them.
Raking in soil and seeds into a tree pitToronto guerrilla gardening comes to London with a red trailing geranium and petunia
I’ve seen lots of guerrilla gardening in tree pits. Berlin and New York have some beautiful ones. I’ve struggled in London. May of our tree pits are just sand, rubble or worst of all, covered in resin. But I’ve spotted a new chance worth trying - tree pits with wide metal grates. These often contain deep empty crevices, just holes for litter and a few courageous weeds. At worst the grates are trip hazards so I’ve filled one in with a mixture of top soil, compost, cornflower seeds and a few violas. Let’s see how they fare. Trampling is the obvious risk but this is away from the path of high traffic so it might work. African marigolds in Spadina Avenue, Toronto
Violas in a tree pitCopyright

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