|This page contains links to websites that in some way are mostly related to guerrilla gardening. It';s by no means definitive, and much now happens to inspire guerrilla gardeners on social media compared with the olden days of blogging like this site. Many people guerrilla gardening just getting on with the gardening rather than seeking the share digitally. So... if you want to meet guerrilla gardeners it's worth keeping your eyes peeled and your aethetics trained for someone who doesn't look official or creating a garden that looks a little unexpected, and striking up a conversation. For me these spontaneous conversations areone of the great joys of guerrilla gardening! E-mail me if you have a suggestion to add. (Please note none of these are paid links).|
The term guerrilla gardening was coined by the Green Guerillas* fifty years ago. These days they have grown into an organised movement to encourage the participation of the public in cultivating their city in less undercover ways. (*Yes, they spell guerrilla with one R, many do.).
In 1977, when a group of 48th Street New Yorkers noticed tomato plants growing out of the debris from the empty lot that had laid vacant and abandoned for over 28 years, the idea of a real garden began to germinate. With additional encouragement from city sanitation workers, in 1978 the Clinton Community Garden was born.
In 2006 guerrilla gardeners in Belgium, friends from student days who wanted a continued shared project to triger meet ups, began sowing sunflower seeds in the cities treepits. We were soon in touch and they declared 1 May International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day. Together we championed this day for many years, and although they retired in 2013, the idea has been taken up by many others ever since. Their blog remains as an archive.
The Netherlands has been particularly enthusiastic about guerrilla gardening and I've been to the country many times since 2008 to help inspire. Perhaps it's the national mission to make land from sea that inspires people to make gardens from wasteground? Or a good sense of fun and creativity. I love NL! Guerrilla Gardening NL has grown over the last fifteen years from a grass roots organisation into a thriving and very professional support and advocacy group for guerrilla gardeners across the country.
Ron Finley has been inspiring guerrilla gardeners since March 2013 when he gave a TED talk about his struggles to get away with planting edible food on the road side verges near his home in Los Angeles - it was against the law to obstruct the kerb as his substantial veg garden was doing, though of no issue to anyone else but law makers. By August that year the local council agreed not to enforce the law. Ron has since restlyed (he is also a fashion designer) as the Gangstar Gardener and in February 2014 he kindly showed my family and our local host Scott Bunnel - a very committed and experienced guerrilla gardener - his famous veg garden. We also were shown his substantial private pool that instead of being filled with water is brimming with potted plants. This property had become the base for his project, engaging people in growing their way out of urban food deserts.
In 2017 in the aftermarth of the devasting fire at Grenfell Tower local resident Tayshan turned to guerrilla gardening neglected land in his west London neighbourhood. He channeled the widespread sense of shock, sadness, anger and the compulsion to make a positive difference into leading the creation of the Grenfell Peace Garden. Gardening itself, regardless of its unofficial sanction, was something Tayshan was not initially comfortable to be seen doing, it didn't fit with his self image, but he's overcome those boundaries too and in 2020 set up Grow to Know with the support of garden designer Danny Clarke. Grow to Know has twice contributed successfully to the Chelsea Flower Show with provocative garden designs that seek to challenge many issues, most recent the inequality of access to green space.
Wayward began as a project from Heather Ring in 2006 to help find homes for all plants that have fallen upon hard times. For several years I helped rehome some of them in London guerrilla gardens, and fruit from her homeless apple tree continues to delight residents of Perronet House. Heather is a landscape architect and her passion for transforming public space has lead to many professional commissions.
Fallen Fruit not only make the most of the urban landscape by planting it with productive fruit trees, but they also harvest fruit that grows in public space... guerilla farming that is.
In 1906 Lewis H. Berens wrote a detailed account of the first recorded act of guerrilla gardening, that of Gerrard Winstanley and The Diggers on 1 April 1649. While his gardening success was short lived his impact on history was immense. You can read Beren's tome online at The Project Gutenberg. Winstanley was commemorated in Moscow along with others who had inspired the communist revolution. His name was added in 1918 to an obelisk that had been put up a few years earlier during Tsarist times. I planted tulips next to this obelisk in 2009 (Watch the video of this dig) but when I returned to give another guerrilla gardening talk in Moscow five years later and returned to his memorial his name had been removed at Putin's orders and the obelisk restored to its Tsarist appearance.
|PARK(ING) DAY |
REBAR have made a huge impact about reclaiming car parking space for relaxation and gardens. Originating in San Francis the idea of Park(ing) is to take over parking spaces with a park, initially just for a day, but often now for much longer. Since 2005 the event has inspired many to do the same, some of them the parking authorities who permanently reduce spaces for cars in favour of greenery.
| Defiant Gardens
Throughout history those caught up in conflict have turned to gardening. This report from NPR tells more.