Home of Britain's 24th most influential gardener
BlogTipsEnlistCommunityLinks
Make a donationTroop DigsGetting StartedE-mail
 
Richard_001 is taking his guerrilla gardening trowel on tour in 2013
Location: Around Seoul, S. Korea Lecture + Research: 10 -14 Aug This is far from home as I’ve ever been and at times felt like a step far into a possible future of a  densely packed and technological city with little visible dating back more than a few decades. ThereThis is Gangnam Style
are signs across the city that years of rapid urban development have left a gap in the psyche, an anxiety of detachment from nature that is being resolved in a variety of different approaches includinglogo
guerrilla gardening. I was invited  to speak at TEDx Itaewon withThe conference at COEX Gangnam begins with a painting of Che
the conference theme of “Nature +”. An dance troupe with paint brushes opened the day creating a giant image of Che Guevara, a  neat warm up act for my 18  minutes. Despite the event name we were gathered in the shinyPacked lunch     Playing  around on stage at TEDx
Gangnam district that has given  its name to this summer’s pop  phenomenon by K-Pop artist Psy. But the phenomenon I hope we see travelling more is the pride in pavement planting from both the city, residents and guerrilla gardeners. It makes even more sense in a place where so few  have private open space. At a dinner gathering of green artists and entrepreneurs I met Chung Dawoon who shared with me her guerrilla gardening tales, ofThe photo shoot for Heren in Yunji's university guerrilla garden
striking up a conversation with an elderly neighbour who was so happy to have an opportunity to talk to someone young and  share her interest in gardening  (and stash of seeds). Chung had actually been inspired by the English edition of my book,Yunji
but with a new Korean edition published in 2012 I hope many more will turn to it. I also metguerrilla gardener and author Yunji
Yunji, a young student who has recently published a book about her guerrilla gardening allotmentslogoPajeory growing mint for sale to a local ice cream maker
on land at her university, a visit that turned into an elaborate photo shoot for Heren magazine. Korea is excited by guerrillaKorea pimped pavements
gardening and two weeks after my return to the UK KBS TV followed me to London to film  a report on my home turf.Pavement side pimped pavement. Gangnam Style
Small Small Studio Guerrilla Gardeninglogo
Mobile Gardeners Park Elephant and Castle SE17X
The KBS TV crew visit the Mobile Gardeners’ Park in London,  a new community growing space of which I’m a director.Guerrilla sunflowers on camera
GuerrillaGardening.org
Location: Trinity Street, SE1 Mindless Vandalism: 1 Sept ‘12 “Oh Richard, they’ve gone  and massacred the tree pits” said my voice mail. It was from message was from Clare a local resident and pavement pimper. As a guerrilla gardener this kind of well meaning but devastating attack from council contractors is one of our occupational  hazards, a painful but predictable side effect from gardening  without permission, most likely if you let your guerrilla garden look a bit wild or ragged. I’ve rarely suffered the misfortune! But what makes this attack so ridiculous is Trinity Street is the only gardening in Southwark’s  public realm I’ve ever initiatedHacked Off By a massacre of a pimped pavement by Southwark Council. Southwark Council have almost entirely cleared out five award  winning tree pits, leaving just lavender and rosemary. This thuggery is institutionalised within this backward thinking and dysfunctionally operating local authority.
which had permission from the council before digging began!Watch a video of the pimping ofthis pavement in 2010 here
Clare planting tulips in the tree pits on 9 October 2011
Lyla and Amber Arnold tending the tree pits of Trinity StreetThe evidence names the culprit
This just goes to show that permissionis no guarantee of protectionEven though I had the backing of the London
Sustainable Development Commission and local councillorswho assisted in that first planting
ever since (Clare has even won an award from the Conseration Foundation for the project
convincing Southwark Council’s “Head of Public Realm” of our intentions.Des Waters allegedly
told his councillor “I don’t see the point, my men will just destroy it”. Such a negative and defeatist attitude was of no surprise since my only encounters and reports of Des Waters have shown him to be a man who perceives the public realm only as a concern for health and safety and has no  motivation to enable the social or environmental benefits that can come from local people  shaping and tending ‘his realm’. It could be so different so easily. Just over the border in Lambeth Council pavement pimping has been both legitimised and supported by the council. Residents  are embracing it, the council is winning awards. In Lambeth I have met councillors, officers and contractors there who get it now. They have listened to me make presentations on the subject at the annual Estates In Blooms awards in the Brixton town hall which Lambeth Living invited  me to compeer for four years between 2008 and 2011. The legacy has been an enlightened  culture of tolerating projects that begin as guerrilla initiatives, such as the Edible Bus Stop, and the
adaption of their community refreshscheme Fresh View intoevents which have pimped great
lengths of pavement. Meanwhile in Southwark the council leader ignored my correspondence  encouraging him to adopt Fresh View and officers even published news of a fictions pilot for an ‘adopt a tree’ project in their 2010 Tree Strategy which would have encouraged tree pit planting with ‘low shrubs or flowering plants’, a fiction which confirmed to me in writing after months of pursuing further information about it. The massacre at Trinity Street can be repaired, but thirty  months of plant growth cannot just be replanted easily. Clare is pursuing compensation from the council – a transaction that should not only cover the cost of new plants but act as a penalty for their mindless vandalism and encouragement for us to continue committing voluntary labour to this patch. Cllr Peter John and Cllr Hickson have said they are looking into it for us but  perhaps they might not just pursue damage limitation but encourage people to pimp pavements.
Meanwhile I’ve received reports of destruction elsewhere in London in recent days as it appears the mindless men are on the rampage. Last year it was teenagers, this year men in high vis jackets. In Chiswick TfL have destroyed the garden of a street dweller and in the estate of a Southwark council block contractors have recklessly chopped back shrubs to the
residents' dismay as you canread hereThe Guardian reported onthe Chiswick incident.
GuerrillaGardening.org
Location: Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 Guerrilla Gardening: 18/8/12 Passers by tell us they can smell this guerrilla garden before they see it. All the more when there’s twelve of us cutting at the hundreds of lavender bushes on the hottest day of the year.  It was perfect for the annual harvest, three hours of grabbing,  twististing and chopping the crop into two Austin Maxi loads of  harvest fueled with catering from Sam and Lyla. Thanks everyone.  Hot Chop London Lavender Harvest 2012 guerrilla gardening
Sam's GG branded bee cakesLyla and Priya harvesting
Lauren (a.k.a. Deadly Knitshade) discovered a lost bear in the  undergrowth!Sophie and Niloufer harvesting. We left several large clumps in bloom as the bees were still enjoying the harvest as well.
A sample of the 2012 guerrilla gardening lavender pillows on sale OctoberThe lavender will be dried out and stuffed into little pillows which we sell to raise funds for  more guerrilla gardening. This  year’s pillows will be made from a beautiful new Liberty Tana Lawn cotton that has been inspired by guerrilla gardening  in London. It is called “Richard and Lyla” and portrays my wife and I gardening the streets of  London. These will go on sale here in October. Register your interest by liking the Facebook
page here or contacting me.
GuerrillaGardening.org
News: 8 August 2012 Sunflower Finalists It all started so well. The soggy spring meant the ground was nicely damp when thousands  sowed their sunflower seeds on 1 May in this annual optimistic guerrilla gardening event. But oh deary me. It’s not been a good  year for many of us sowing out at this time in tough territories because the wet weather has  continued and sunflowers have been stunted or succumbed to  disease. But not all. This year the gold medal tally of sunflowers that make it to full bloom has been all the sweeter for their endurance. And more than  ever I have spotted sunflowers in unlikely situations, planted by people I don’t know but I wonder may well have heard about International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day andGold! Guerrilla grown sunflowers 2012
set about sowing for the rest of us to enjoy and share. Please do send me an e-mail if you have a successful guerrilla grown sunflower and I’ll add it here.Occupy Frankfurt’s potted sunflower growing outside the European Central Bank 10 July 2012
Anonymous sunflower in the central reservation of  the A1(M) near Bedford 4 August 2012Sunflowers growing within our established guerrilla lavender  field, Westminster Bridge Road, London  7 August 2012
Fanta di Fiore’s impressive clump of sunflowers in Bologna, Italy. These have already finished flowering and their seeds have been harvested. 9 July 2012Sean’s lone sunflower in Selby, North Yorkshire 31 July 2012
Supper time for a bee on a guerrilla sunflower within the  guerrilla lavender field of Westminster Bridge Road, 7 August ‘12A pair tower at the top of the  Walworth Road, London SE17, just a few that survived our planting around Elephant & Castle on 1 May 2012 7 August 2012
GuerrillaGardening.org
Location: Heygate Street, SE17 Guerrilla Gardening: 14 March Blooms: 16 July 2012 I’ve admired guerrilla meadowsMini Meadow
in London, in Warsaw and also
heard many sob stories of how they’ve been hacked before they bloom or get to self seed. This year I finally had a go myself, enjoying the simplicity of just scattering some seeds this March and then hoping for the best. I was fortunate in having a newly bare patch of presumably fairly poor soil left over from a change to the pavement, ideal for a  meadow to begin to naturalise. So far so good. Within the seed14 March 2012. Sowing the mini guerrilla meadow
mix (from Landlife and from
Meadow Mania) it’s the poppies that have done best so far. Since I sowed it someone else has also made their mark here, spelling out our actions on the bridge!
Heygate Street guerilla meadowThe bright red poppies have perhaps saved this mini meadow from the council strimmers and mowers. So far nature has done everything  since March.
GuerrillaGardening.org


For previous blog entries click on the links below.
March 12 - July 12 | Aug 11 - Feb 12 | April - Aug 11 |March - May 11 | Jan - March 11 | Oct -Dec 10
July - Sept 10 | May - July 10 | May 10 | March - April 10 | March 10 | Jan - March 10
Aug - Dec 09
| May - July 09 | April - May 09 | Jan - March 09 | Nov - Dec 08
Oct - Nov 08
| Aug 08 | May - July 08 | April - May 08 | Jan - April 08 | Sep - Dec 07
July - Sep 07 | July - Sep 07 | May - July 07 | May - July 07
March - May 07 | Jan - March 07 | Oct - Dec 06 | Aug - Sep 06
May - Aug 06 | April - May 06 | Jan - March 06 | From Oct 04