Imagine making a midnight run, armed only with peonies and tulips, a hand spade and packet of seeds. This is a typical evening for one Mr. Richard Reynolds, the Londoner credited with bringing back the beautifully defiant act of guerilla gardening.
Jon Mooallem caught up with Reynolds sometime in April, apparently to write this wonderful treat of an article from the Sunday Times magazine a couple of weeks back. I’m obviously late to the party on these happenings, as the BBC and others have been reporting on Reynolds’ movement since early 2005. Reynolds and his crews focus on neglected public land, taking over plots of weeds and turning them into cared for public spaces. It seems they have re-ignited a worldwide movement of bewildering, another term synonymous with guerilla gardening coined by Australian gardener Bob Crombie. Or rather, it seems this natural act is becoming a part of the collective consciousness once again.
Still, the most famous group of Londoners employing these tactics should probably go to the activists associated with the group The Land is Ours, a group that occupied 13 acres of derelict land belonging to the Guiness company, for five and a half months before being evicted. Their mission was to highlight “the appalling misuse of urban land, the lack of provision of affordable housing and the deterioration of the urban environment”. And they potentially learned all this from Liz Christy and her Green Guerillas from the Bowery in New York in the 1970’s, who learned it from a couple of Brits, who must’ve read the bible at some juncture. Point is, this act of using public space for the community’s greater good has been around a long time. Everything runs in a circular motion.
And to think that I have a half of an acre with no garden growing…hmph. I always felt that I needed to own a home before I had a garden, and now that I do, I think that I need to find a place that I want to put down roots before I sow. Instead, I think, I should just stop thinking so much and perhaps pick up a hoe and take some action for a moment. (grab a hoe…did you like that? It makes me feel giddy and juvenile, so I couldn’t help but mention it…)
Enjoy the video that the Nation fashioned over two years ago, if you’d like. And if you’re feelin’ it, get yourself some tools, cuttings, and maybe a headlamp and have a go at it, yeah?