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In with the fedge, out with the fence. Guerrilla defences for daffodils and tulips from the trampling of stray pedestrians
Location: Around Elephant & Castle. Guerrilla Gardening: 11, 12 and 14 February 2012 There’s a growing trend in our cities for making streets  ‘naked’. It’s about blurring the boundaries a bit between the different users particularly drivers and pedestrians.  It’s about trusting people to think more and avoid putting themselves in danger without having barriers and signs that clutter the appearance. Transport for London have  embraced the thinking* and are taking down many of the fences that divide the fast dual carriage ways from walkers. People now wander across when ever they like, ignore crossing points and drivers dodge them (usually). But  such liberation is something I’ve struggled with for a  while when it comes to creating shared space between  pedestrians and guerrilla gardens - particularly in tree pits.  They so readily become extensions to the pavement unless Daffodils emerging, protected behind the fedge
there’s very obvious deliberate vegetation in them. In  bleak February that’s a bit tricky especially if like me,  you’re keen on growing spring flowering bulbs. There  are weeks of vulnerability as they shoot up, and their  stems are so easily decapitated at ground level or crushed beneath the surface as the ground becomes compacted.  A good mulching helps, an easy and obvious sign that  the tree pit is being cared for, and also a bit of cushioning
from those that still trample. I’ve had good fortune with  crocus too, who get flowering so quickly that they act as bright cats eyes keeping foot traffic away. But now I’m trying a new technique - the fedge. It’s a fence that could become a hedge. I ordered four large bundles of willow  stems over the web, and in three bursts of experimentation have surrounded seventeen tree pits around Elephant  and Castle and the front of our mature guerrilla garden  at the St George’s Circus roundabout. Each stem is trimmed so its quite firm a both ends and then it’s pocked deep  into the ground, ideally at least 15cm or so, to make a  hoop. There’s a chance these cuttings will take root and  the hoops will sprout leaves. Such defences will not of  course stop the determined trampler, but then a fence  doesn’t stop a hurdler either. But most pedestrians aren’t determined tramplers, so the fedges appear to be working well. In fact several passers by complemented the new look, and that’s before the big spring show. If you give  this a go just wait until the ground isn’t frozen, it makes prodding the willow in difficult and your knees will moan!    GGT usefi; fpr carruomh around the long willow stems
TfL's notice about fence removal
On Guerrilla Gardening in KoreaThe new UK  paperback edition from Bloomsbury  has my photo of our guerrilla sunflowers on Denmark Hill blooming in 2011
Visit OnGuerrillaGardening.com
Location: Perronet House, SE1 Ginger Gardening: 1 Jan 2012 London is drenched, the gardens are replenishing their precious stores of water so  gardeners here turn to other pursuits. Guests to a New Year’s Eve party came bearing a flat pack ginger bread recreation of Perronet House and the guerrilla garden around it which I started in 2004. It’s a lot more colourful than the garden at the moment, although wall flowers are already in bloom. It’s also a lot more tasty Ginger Garden
The Perronet House Garden during 2011Olly and Lizzie creating it
Verbena and yellow roses outside Perronet House, London Road SE1Tulips, April 2011 on London Road SE1
Location: St George’s Circus, SE1 Guerrilla Gardening: Dec 18 Years ago we planted a sad, discarded Christmas tree as the centre piece of our guerrilla garden at St George’s Circus.  This is the second and longest lasting, a modest 3’ spruce who discretely hides behind more prominent bay, hollyhocks and deep drifts of plane tree leaves. But with some bright red tinsel and dried slices of orange it has it’s turn to catch a passers eyeDead Dogs & Tinsel
and slow the traffic to ponder on the season, as well as who  might be tending this and how it came to be. While the festive tree celebrates life in the soil a few feet away is a new grave. I Lyla, Christina, Andy and I decorate the St George’s  Circus Christmas Tree
discovered it a few weeks ago when sweeping leaves with Lake. Marking the spot was an elaborate memorial wrapped in a plastic  bag. We could see a tribute to  Sparky, a dead dog, plastic flowers, a blanket, a toy dog and candles. Discovering a Guerrilla Grave is a new one for me. Burying your  pet in public, perhaps on one of  their regular routes, is a stronger memorial than the vet’s incinerator, though scattering of a pet’s ashes might be better for the garden. At least the memorial prevents it  being accidentally exhumed Under the leaves we discovered an intricate memorial to Sparky the dog.
Location: Brandon St, SE17 Guerrilla Gardening: Nov 19 Budget: About £120 For the exhibitionist guerrilla gardener the roundabout really is the perfect canvas, to be  enjoyed from every angle and tended as an island of fertility in a sea of tyres and tarmac. This one is on the edge of an almost derelict council estate (which  A roundabout guerrilla garden
we also call the Elephant & Castle Urban Forest), so the
traffic is almost non existent, but for now it can also be enjoyed from above as the high level walkways (our own potential High Line) offer a great view. I’ve speculated about digging this one up for a while, but the impetus came from the exciting new opportunity of running a new community garden just  over the road from this island. If all goes well the over grown jungle behind wooden hoardings Guerilla gardening Brandon Street SE17
will in 2012 become the Mobile Gardeners Park. But the seasons don’t wait for leases and there’s gardening to be done in the  neighbourhood, for which the guerrilla strategy is natural.  Mobile GardenersThe four and a half hour marathon of clearing begins
Celia, Sunny, Lyla, Rachel and I began the ominous task of  digging up the grass and a lot  of rubble, later joined by a keen contingent of LSE Cities students and later by Heather and some beers. In went 32 lavender, a few hundred ‘Salome’ daffodils (pink head on a white plate), Orange Emperor tulips and more remnants of the Trafalgar Sq’s green wall: Thymus, Hebe topiaria Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’.  That will show the developers we’re serious about gardening. Now we just need serious rain.   Before, just an ordinary roundabout. As night falls we begin the planting. Day Two: Sunny planting. This is just the start
Freaky Fruit. A tomato rippens on the vine on the edge of the guerrilla lavender field in central LondonAnd here’s a Strawberry thriving in the same patch too, despite the season.
Location: Westminster Bridge Road, London, England Guerrilla Fruiting:  Sunday 13 November 2011 Amongst some of the guerrilla gardens we’ve planted in London are secreted a few edibles,  snack food for when weeding and a treat for the very observant passer by or a creature who gets there first. On a crisp November Sunday I hadn’t expected to still find some treats when out  planting bulbs, but we’ve had a mild autumn and the warm exhaust fumes probably help too -  which all goes to suggest whether these fruit are both poisonous to eat and perhaps symbolic of our poisoned planet. But at the time I just saw food and gobbled them up anyway.
Stuffing & StitchingLocation: My living room, Elephant & Castle Haberdashery Division:  Oct through Nov ‘11 As the activity in the guerrilla gardens turns to  leaf sweeping and soggy litter collection the annual frenzy builds indoors as production of our  London lavender pillows continues. These are our  key source of fund raising, and of course this  year containlavender harvested by the Duchess  of Cornwall, would you believe it. I hear she has  packed one of our fragrant pillows off on the Royal  tour of South Africa. While my local authority of Southwark remain tediously dismissive of guerrilla gardeners it’s nice to know the swiff of  our illicit activities is being carried around by the  royals... rock royalty too, as Nile Rodgers, an  insomniac, also now has one about his person. These pillows are all made by volunteers from  exceedingly fine cotton fabric that was due for landfill but donated by a well known British fashion house, who would rather not admit it. You can buy yours on line from the page here.
Lavender Pillows2011 London Lavender Pillows
WarsawLocation: Warsaw, Poland Guerrilla Gardening:  Late October 2011 The Museum of Modern Art here have an  annual festival “Under Construction” to which I
was invited to give a lecture. As ever when on the preaching circuit I took the chance to find out more about local guerrilla gardening, and  do a little myself. I like Warsaw a lot, it’s a bit like a much larger version of Elephant & Castle where I live, with even greater potential in  the landscape for gardeners. Warsaw is not a  dense city, the devastation of WWII, the soviet love of parading spaces and the contemporary protected development process has ensured that. I was told there’s an casual attitude to the public realm, that it doesn’t belong to anyone rather  than to the authorities, which enables an easy,  relaxed attitude amongst guerrilla gardeners. I
have come across Kwiatuchi before
see in this videoJodie who has
Warsaw's plastic palm tree Jewish memorial and the municple sea of chrysanthemumsattempted to pimp her pavement with a wild  flower meadow in an empty tree pit and gave me a gift of Polish wild flower seeds (please don’t shriek all you native plant obsessives, who may worry  about Polish immigrants, I operate an open  borders policy) . Warsaw is not a blank canvas  for the guerrilla gardener. The city enthusiastically  plants up beds and lots of pavement planters in autumn with chrysanthemums, their yellow  and purple was ubiquitous in the centre. Over a few days I scouted suitable opportunities for  a risky ‘hit and run’ dig (as in I can’t look after the garden), and settled from the scrappy fringes of the shrubbery next to the Centrum metro.
Like my tulip planting outsidethe Kremlin
digging Tripoli in 2006Do let me know
No one bats an eye lid as I do my diggingLook at the potential all over the place
Accampata RomaLocation: S. Croce, Gerusalemme Piazza, Rome Mobile Garden:  Since October 15 2011 Guerrilla gardeners in Rome together with community gardeng groups and other Romans have created mobile edible gardens made from wooden boxes  from fruit and veg markets and earth filled hemp  bags to contribute a optimistic and practical spectacle to their occupation outside the contro- versial church of Santa Croce. You can find out
more about their campaign at their blog here.
Italian guerrilla gardeners create mobile gardens as part of Occupy Rome, Italy
Occupier Gardening - Wall Street protestor’s slogans encourage  changing the way we live our lives, and  back up the call with practical workshopsLocation: Wall Street, New York, USA Guerrilla Gardening Workshop:  October 2011 Guerrilla gardening is occupation, the appropriation of territory with plants. When the land is unloved and neglected such occupation is  typically ignored by the authorities (which is just fine). When the land has a more intense  use or symbolic role guerrilla gardening tends  to be less permanent (for a gardener this is more like a flower show) because for a protestor  the short lived plant is serving a different purpose to those of a gardener. Here, for the first time I  see guerrilla gardening used in a protest whose heart is far from a gardeners in a way that isn’t at  the mercy of plants. It makes practical use of the energy and optimism within a crowd that has multiple objectives to change society. This is just  one of several different skills being tutored in the occupy camps (I’ve seen dance instruction in London). What might the seeds of this protest end up flourishing into and where?
A seed ball/bomb workshop in Wall Street. These pictures come from Permaculture Media Blogview more here
Seed Ball Demonstraiton Today Overgrow Transform
Trans Europe Tulip Attack Guerrilla gardeners across Europe planted tulips beyond their  boundaries on October 9 in a great show of shared determination, fun and optimism for spring. Some in organised groups (look at the
forces in Italy!) and others as  solo efforts. Presented here are a few shots. Click the location to see more images of the dayRome, Italy
Székesfehérvár, HungaryKragujevac, Serbia
Guerrilla Gardening in Hungary and SerbiaLa Grande Abbulbata
Bologna, Italy Guerrilla Gardening Rome
Terra Di Nettuno (Guerrilla Gardening Bologna)Guerrilla Gardening Hackney
International Tulip Guerrilla Gardening DayLocation: The Northern Hemisphere Guerrilla Gardening:  Sunday 9 October 2011 For the second year GuerrillaGardening.org is calling for tulip planting on 9 October on land beyond your boundaries, ideally sorry looking public land that is in need of a bit of spring cheer. Last year several hundred took part and Lyla 1046 and I planted clumps in many of the Motorway service stations up the M1, which was delightfullyy
easy and satisfyingly successful when we
visited the plots in April. Already guerrilla gardeners in Paris, Belgrade, Rome and  Amsterdam are organising events. In London I’ll be cycling around the city meeting keen guerrillas in their local patch to help out: Islington, Kensal Green, Elephant are up for it.
Guerrilla tulips at the Elephant and CastleGet more inspiration from the event page,  sign up, and make plans to plant tulips (solo or in a group). Here’s a  guide to tulip
April 2011planting I made with GuerillaGardeners.nl
Camilla The GuerrillaLocation: All around London SE1 Guerrilla Gardening:  6 September 2011 The Duchess of Cornwall took a tour south
Camilla The GuerrillaLondon urban gardens today and was easily persuaded to join in help me chop some  more of the remaining lavender harvest from Transport for London land where approval still only remains informal and verbal and funding is from your generous support. Our
1st stop was at Walworth Garden Farm
Harvesting the guerrilla lavender at Westminster Bridge Road SE1before we were back on the vintage bus and I acted as tour guide pointing out tree pits  around SE1. We disembarked at the lavender field for a little harvesting, with HRH bringing

Royal Bus and guerilla gardenersalong a handy Highgrove trug. I pointed out the neighbouring pumpkin field before getting back on board for more guerrilla garden  spotting (including the still contested garden where I live that Southwark Council charge my neighbours and I £4000 for our gardening  so they can subsidise maintenance elsewhere  - the rascals!). Gasps were heard. Then onto