There’s been a lot on the internet lately about guerrilla gardeners, people from all walks dedicated to stealthily transforming blighted, barren or plain ugly urban spots into planted oasis’s. These are often ordinary, middle-class souls fed up with the lack of nature and beauty in their urban landscape, and willing to break the law, shell out money for seeds, plants and supplies from their own pocket, and put themselves on the line (in effect, doing an end-run around bogged-down, bureaucratic local governments). Many have simply read or heard about the idea, and took it upon themselves to transform a bit of local wasteland, becoming guerrilla gardeners overnight, a version of “just do it.”
The unofficial leader of a growing movement in London is Richard Reynolds, a strategic planner for an advertising agency who learned how to garden from his mother and grandmother. In 2004 he transformed the ugly roundabouts in his neighborhood of Elephant and Castle, one of the roughest areas of south London and caught the attention of the media. The local government ended up sanctioning the activity.
It’s easy to go guerrilla if you are already into gardening and know your way around soil quality and which-plants-do-best-where. If you’re a novice, you’ll find resources and inspiring images on at Reynold’s site www.guerrillagardening.org, which connects guerrilla gardeners from over 30 countries; it’s “Tips” section, tells you how to jump start your first guerrilla gardening project. Also check out Reynold’s book On Guerrilla Gardening and Guerrilla Gardening, A Manualfesto by David Tracey.
For news about the guerrilla gardening movement in Los Angeles, read this recent L.A.Times recent piece.