THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul16

Guerrilla Gardening

Today we want to share with you the book On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening without Boundaries by Richard Reynolds, who like us also took part in the Chelsea Fringe this year.

“The reason I became a guerrilla gardener is because I love gardening.”

What better reason do you need?

The term Guerrilla Gardening was coined in the 1970’s by a New York artist, Liz Christy. The ‘Green Guerillas’, as they were known, began gardening on abandoned lots – to beautify the spaces around them, for food, for the health benefits, to express themselves (this was New York, after all) – but what it also sparked was a community of followers that was as much about the people working together as it was about the gardening.

Not all of these benefits are as intangible as ‘guerrilla gardening helps people express themselves’ – businesses thrive in areas where land is cared for, because people spend more time in beautiful places. Property prices must surely go up to…

“There is a lot of unloved land in London, much of it owned by local authorities. Perhaps they have too much to know what to do with it – they certainly put it to poor use… choosing to cultivate someone else’s neglected land is taking responsibility where others have not.”

This argument is wonderful – by positioning guerrilla gardening as a resource, how can a local authority object to it? Trusting in people and encouraging those who have the energy to do the work for you (and to a higher standard!) you not only save money but foster better relationships with people. What is wrong with letting go a little, in trying to achieve a ‘victorious landscape’?

Throughout the book Richard speaks in the language of the guerrilla – gardening on land where you don’t have permission to garden is about going into battle, spades become weapons and seeds are missiles to be fired – “let’s fight the filth with fork and flowers” is the battle cry!

The second part of the book turns into a manual for how to be a guerrilla gardener, with lots of advice on how to deal with people who object to what you are doing (or are just curious), what tools to use (“start with a small metal fork”), what clothes to wear, which plants to use and the fun of gardening with seedballs.

Seedballs - the BEE MIX!
Seedballs – the BEE MIX!

 

“I do not wait for permission to become a gardener but dig wherever I see horticultural potential… the potential for creating beauty and productivity in the landscape.”

That is why guerrilla gardening should be encouraged.

To buy the book, or others that are related to guerrilla gardening, go to Amazon by clicking the links below!

And this is Seedbombs by Josie Jeffery, another important figure in the guerrilla gardening/seed freedom world… not our most favourite book, to be honest, but she is worth knowing and following too!

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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