Friday, June 13th, 2008 • No Comments on Guerrilla Gardening
Jay sent me a terrific New York Times article about guerrilla gardening in London:
Just after sunset on one of the first mild nights of spring, Richard Reynolds parked his hatchback near a traffic circle in the London neighborhood of Hoxton. Tied to his roof were a potted honeysuckle and a dozen box hedge plants, spilling out of garbage bags. Trays of bright white Paris daisies filled the trunk, and cartons of variegated ivy were wedged in the passenger seat. Hipsters drank indifferently outside a nearby pub.
What is guerrilla gardening, you ask?
Reynolds defines guerrilla gardening as “the cultivation of someone else’s land without permission.” He didn’t invent the term or the tactic but has become, as he puts it, “a self-appointed publicist for the movement” and the breadth of impulses and ideologies behind it.
Last week he published a book, On Guerrilla Gardening. It’s a political history of people growing things where they shouldn’t — from Honduran squatters to the artists and students he credits with originating the term “guerrilla gardening” in New York City in the early ’70s. During the city’s financial crisis, the self-styled Green Guerillas began cultivating derelict lots around the Lower East Side, either by clipping barbed wire fences or chucking “seed bombs” over them — Christmas ornaments or condoms filled with tomato seeds, water and fertilizer. After early confrontations, the city ultimately gave in and legitimized many of their plots into one of the country’s first community-garden programs, staking a claim for green space before gentrification vaulted the value of all that abandoned land.
What a fabulous, amazing idea! Perfect for us insomniacs, too. Just hose me down with Deep Woods Off and point me toward the nearest plot of neglected land..