gardening without permission
"Guerrilla Gardening is the illicit cultivation of someone else's land. And typically it's land which is neglected to start with, until guerrilla gardeners come along and make it their own."
Richard Reynolds, founder of guerrillagardening.org
It is a war against the ugly and the abandoned land. Going out when it is dark, a raid to take the weed off and plant some bulbs that will soon become beautiful tulips. The battle ground is the city, and its pavements and traffic islands. It is cold, mid October, and the results will be visible only at the end of the winter, March probably.
Richard, the first guerrilla gardener in London, started his personal war some years ago in front of his block. Few big concrete flowerbeds were lying empty and sad. Since then, the traffic islands of Elephant & Castle have become his garden. And he encourages everybody to do it, to make more beautiful the place where they live. He thinks that the citizens should take responsibility for the land in their city and do something when it is neglected.
Guerrilla gardening is illegal, treated as damage of public property, but other people in the neighbourhood know the guerrillas and appreciate their work. Often they offer some help, or some food and tea. Guerrilla gardening is a good way to do something local and meet some of the neighbours. It helps to get a sense of ownership of your community rather than just being confined to your own place.
Behind us, cars and buses rush to go through the light before it gets red. At our feet, a lavender field needs some care to get ready for next year's crop.
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