Makes Complete Sense
There’s a gardening uprising, and it’s all happening beyond our front gate.
Guerilla gardening is a movement turning neglected land in cities into community gardens or artistic expressions.
Although active since the 1970s in New York, it is fast spreading, with thousands of guerilla gardeners around the world.
In London, Richard Reynolds is becoming the modern-day leader of the movement, aided by his marketing knowledge from working in London advertising agencies.
Reynolds began guerilla gardening in 2004, when he started cultivating neglected public flower beds and roadside verges in his south London neighbourhood.
He is driven to ”transform neglected public land with more uplifting and biodiverse habits” and wants to encourage more people through his website (guerrillagardening.org) to do the same in a way that is environmentally and socially positive.
This year, it isn’t just the Chelsea Flower Show capturing the imaginations of green-minded Londoners. The Chelsea Fringe festival is making its debut and runs until June 9.
The festival is the brainchild of British garden writer and historian Tim Richardson, who wants to ”spread some of the excitement and energy that fizzes around gardens and gardening”.
Richardson’s idea is to ”give people the freedom and opportunity to express themselves through the medium of plants and gardens, to open up possibilities and to allow full participation”.
Although independent of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the Chelsea Fringe has the support of the Royal Horticultural Society, and Richardson wants the festival to ”explode out of the showground geographically, demographically and conceptually”.
Gardens range from grassroots community projects to avant-garde art installations. Examples include pop-up London bus-stop gardens and a travelling bicycle beer garden – complete with potted beer cans – that is towed to various venues.
In Australia, the movement has faced hurdles. Guerrilla Gardeners was a show broadcast on the Ten Network in early 2009 before being axed due to struggling ratings. The show drew controversy for its ”illicit” gardening activities and complaints from councils.
However, one Australian is making headway. Now based in London, ”the Pothole Gardener”, Steve Wheen, is gaining a following by turning street potholes into miniature gardens.
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