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Location: St George’s Road and Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 Guerrilla Gardening: Last Oct Crocus are fearlessly trumpeting the advance of spring in  London 2011 No tentative, droopy snow drop (which I’ve failed with in guerrilla gardens but bold beacons that are not only thriving in tree pits and verges on my path to work but also very practical protection for the neighbouring young  tulip shoots they protect like bollards around road works. Beautiful Bollards
Succession planting, as a neat sequence of colour is called,  serves a very useful purpose  for the guerrilla garden since it makes it abundantly clear to the potential stray that this patch is purposeful there to be enjoyed.  Crocus amongst pedestrian crossings in London
Guerrilla crocus outside Lambeth North tubeCrocus on a traffic island on Westminster Bridge Road
In The Bleak Midwest Winter
Sidewalk planters in CHicago hidden under snow. Not a good time to be guerrilla gardening hereSeed swap Bloomington
Location: Chicago Indianapolis Bloomington USA, Lecture Tour: Friday 3 Feb to Sunday 13 Feb 2011Keith organised a seed swap
Snowpocalpysestruck Chicago two days before my long
Adopt A Road
and as ever found guerrilla gardeners amongst every audienceSee a CBS newsJackson Branch
report on Dianaguerrilla gardening in Chicago last year
The landscape and mindset in the cities I saw appeared a little less concerned about boundaries than my home town: fewer hedges, fences and perhaps, judging by the enthusiasm for locals to clear their sidewalks of snow, less expectation someone else would care for the public realm. In the rural  areas signs encouraged community groups (not businesses  as in the UK) to ‘adopt a road’. The Lake Zurich Gardening  Club had taken on the beds outside their local library. Our penultimate night was in Bloomington as guests of Dr John An invitation to plant your own public garden in Chicago?
With Keith & the Galuskas and Lake Zurich Gardening ClubSELF PARK
Galuska and KeithJohnson of Permaculture Activist. It was
a brief but intense insight into how some in low density  urban communities are heading towards self sufficiency. They are fortunate to have lots of land for their households and are putting it to valuable use. We saw rabbits, poultry, sprawling undulations of mulched ground and enjoyed  baby carrots from inside their polytunnels. They’re reaching out through their lecturing on urban agriculture and may find guerrilla gardening a useful way to engage people with the potential in the landscape in a playful, provocative way. That spirit was evident in Columbus, a small town known for enthusiastically commissioning exceptional architecture. As well as beautiful buildings the town has commissioned knitters to design and make tree-hugging wooly tubesWooly daffodils in Columbus
perhaps inspired bythe guerrilla knittersaround the world.Wooly daffodil in Columbus
Location: Borough Road, Steedman St, London SE1 Guerrilla Hammering: Saturday 29 January 2011 On these pages I usually do my best to present  guerrilla gardening as relatively straight forward, and it is - fear is the biggest obstacle, optimism your  best weapon. But there are practicalities at this time of the year that the guerrilla gardener must consider to avoid their long term investment in a public patch being ignorantly destroyed. It’s all about the perception of what’s mess and what’s not. Gardens naturally look messy now: the last of the leaf litterHigh Risk - Vulnerable young tulips appear but could so easily be trampled or cleared
winter weathered stems and seed heads and even a few dead plants you might still be hoping spring back into life. It’s good for them too, a natural blanket of organic garbage insulates the ground from the  cold and it’s a beautiful canvas for rare city frosts to decorate. But in this state a guerrilla garden is  so terribly vulnerable to the ignorant contractor or  pedestrian who may stray into your territory, assuming it’s neglected and up for grabs. This is a  time when enthusiastic tidying can sweep and chop  away the lull in your activity and set back a garden by months. The tips of your autumn bulb planting efforts are trampled and shrubs chopped. Our five and a half year old bed at St George’s Circus had an extremely severe hacking at the start of this month, presumably from Transport for London. They’ve not touched this space for more than half a decade, but the ambiguous condition of neglect I’d left it in to weather the heavy snow has cost me dear. Like aMulched roadside verge guerrilla gardening in south London
bad haircut, the deep mat of lavender has been chopped apart into cubes and the protective laurel hedge torn apart to allow stray pedestrians to trample the soil. I’m sharing my pain so you avoid the peril. I should have done something here to demonstrate very clear activity. So today I did the rounds of the most  vulnerable eight tree pits and long verge with six large sacks of wood chips and a few winter pansies. Tulips are just appearing so I delicately spread the soil around them. It will slow down their progress,  insulating the coldness into the ground, but this is a price worth paying for the very clear signal this  will give to anyone that these are not neglected, this is guerrilla gardening territory, even in January. More mulching is piled on a pimped pavement tree pit. These are one of the more vulnerable places at this time to an enthusiastic sweeper or stray pedestrian
Before: The field of Hope sign is missing
5 Mins Later: Hope is back in place at the Elephant
The expansive undulating grass mounds, laurel hedges and pathways at the centre of the triple  carriageway roundabout (London’s fifth most dangerous intersection…. what are the top four I  wonder) are the responsibility of Transport for London. I’ve cut a few mature guerrilla gardens
in the margins of this space but long before that MarieCurie Cancer Care had sponsored the

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