A bit of small time guerrilla gardening

Having gardened my own little garden for just shy of a year, I knew in advance that I needed it to rain before I could guerrilla garden, because to weed you need to get your fork into the soil, which might well be like concrete round here, and unless you are gardening something right outside your own space you don’t want to be carrying a whole lot of water. However. I am not a seasoned gardener – this past year is the only garden I have ever had, so this was never going to be the most ambitious project ever. Plus, I still have the lurgy, so needed a fair few rests in between activity. There are two plots I’ve had my eye on, and I chose to start with the nearer and easier one.

Meet the little patch just before the gate to the canal. I pass it at least four times a day, sometimes more. it’s not evil, but it’s kind of scruffy and abandoned.

see? quite small. there are some plants in there, but they haven’t been looked after and it might not look like it but it’s pretty choked with weeds.

although you can see there are still some leaves in there, this is what it looked like once i had pulled out the weeds. and it’s pretty much what it looked like last year when the council planted it out – and then left it to it’s fate.

i took out these two little customers. plant one was just being choked, but otherwise healthy…  plant two was probably dead when they planted it.

so it was simple enough just to put plant one back in the ground after i had turfed out the weeds. (i’m afraid plant two went to the big garden in the sky)

next up i put this cheeky little variegated ivy in. if he takes he should give a bit of ground cover and see off the strangling weeds and provide a little va va voom.

i also put this ivy in. i am kind of hoping it will trail down the brick area and bust the greenery out of it’s confines.

i brought this little tree from my garden. because i am planning on planting edibles i don’t want something hogging all the water and goodness. exit tree stage left. didn’t see any harm in putting him here, though.

so this is the finished product. nothing to write home about, perhaps, but worth a morning’s work.

This is my first foray into the world of guerrilla gardening and I am quite pleased with it. It’s a bit like regular work – it was so easy for me to sort our a colleague’s course document, but mine was awful. My own garden is very much a work in progress at the moment so it was quite fun just to go out and tidy something up and call it done. I was quite limited as to what I could put in this space, since it doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, so, for instance, my spare lavender would suffer there. And there is no need for that because the other space gets plenty sunshine and I could completely fill it with lavender if I wanted to. I got a smashing crop of lavender this year. The smell was so strong Ten made me put it next door (Steve being on holiday) and I could put some of the monster orange flowered plant in there too.

spoiler alert! this is the next space i want to get my mitts on. it’s more ambitious, more to clear, worse soil, and further away. on the plus side, it gets plenty sunshine.

Because they only planted out the plot i monkeyed with today last year it had been quite well dug over and some topsoil had been added. This plot has had no TLC  in what may have been a very long time. Still, it’s the more exciting plot, and if I wait until a serious deluge I might manage a bit of a dig.

So! there you have it! Baby’s first step  into the shady underworld of guerrilla gardening. Ultimately I want to be planting out foodstuffs, but lets not run before we can walk.

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20 responses to “A bit of small time guerrilla gardening

    • there’s a lady who has the wildflower side of things pretty much covered.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/jeanettesitton/

      just now i am dipping a toe in the water by doing a bit of tidying, planting out stuff i don’t want in my garden, and figuring my own garden out.

      i am less interested in wildflowers than she is – i tolerate them rather than anything else. my big thing is edibles. i have ordered enough seeds to start a small farm, so assuming i don’t kill all the blighters before they’ve grown, i will be starting to plant edibles around the place.

  1. I admire anyone who can make a garden grow. I can make a lawn look nice, but not much luck with plants.

    • thank you kindly, sir!

      it is a bit tragic that they bothered to plant it out then never came back to look after it. those low lying conifer type bushes might grow to be rather handsome when they get going, but it would be good if the tree works out, because i think the patch could use something with a bit of height.

  2. Excellent work! Have you thought of planting guerrilla edibles? I quite like the idea of a community lemon tree or some such.

    • yes! (shhh, though, because that is my cunning MASTER PLAN muahahahahahaha!!!!)

      i like that wildflower lady is all into the wild flowers, there is plenty of scruff around here that wouldn’t look better for tidying up, and she’s acquired a strip that the council gardeners are not to cut, and that is coming along nicely for her purposes, but she isn’t the slightest bit interested in edibles.

      i am starting my edible revolution in my own garden in the spring – got lots of different seeds and a book. if i don’t manage to kill the babies i should have quite a lot spare… and by that time i will feel perfectly normal going around my estate planting stuff. yesterday was partly an exercise in going out and doing it. i had thought i’d wanted someone to come with me, but in the event ten brought a watering can when i planted out the tree, and everything else i just did on my own. i can’t imagine why i thought anyone would object.

      there is one lady who already does this, but just the patch just outside her garden. she’s not on the towpath and it’s nice because it’s as though her own garden has several more feet, and we all get to enjoy it.

      i’d like to be self sufficient in fruit and veg, ideally. but it’s more likely i will develop small inroads… i have big plans for garlic. everywhere.

    • so boring, waiting. but having had my garden for a year, you do see stuff changing. the tree was in a pot and i planted it out, it’s about twice the height it was before, the green ivy grows fairly rapidly once it gets it’s roots in, but the variegated one is really annoyingly slow.

      i have a little more of the variegated one in the garden, so i might cheat a bit and just add that on. i don’t fancy this for an edible patch, because they did bother to put those evergreens in, and it is nearly always in shade. it’s a pity because they did improve the soil. unlike patch#2 which looks like solid clay, but which gets plenty sun and would make quite a good stealth edible garden.

  3. It´s amazing what a big change you can do with one simple thought. I´ve always supported guerrilla gardening.There is so much power in it. As you mentioned, I do understand that it takes lot of patience and hard work to see the results, but when it is successful, it just feels great. I wish you luck in your future efforts. I definitely think that people should pay more attention to their surroundings. And this is a great way how to make them think. I wish people would stop hurrying and would rather look around and enjoy the nature more.

    • Well, EXACTLY!

      I am glad I didn’t wait for other people to do it with me. Now I have done a little mini one i feel i can build on that. i thought this story about an ‘occupy’ garden was very sad, but it’s usually always good news.

      And you are right, the physical intervention in local space dovetails really well with mindfulness and the ‘slow movement’ and the like.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Fantastic steps, what is amazing about guerrilla gardening is that its catching. I hope your whole street gets it. I really like the concept of food and herbs in these patches. Herbs are really great as they are pretty hardy. I thick layer of mulch really improves the soil quality and cuts down on how much you have to water.

    • it’s a pretty great hobby. i’ve never had a garden before, and there are a lot of neglected spots round here, so i can pretty much do as i please. if i like something but don’t want it in my garden there are places i can plant them out and when stuff gets too bushy i can divide and use that, too. i admit i have bought the seeds for the edibles, but pretty much everything else is just intervention.
      there’s a woman who is big into the wildflowers here, and she has carved out a space for that. there is council money for shared allotments but i am not sure i want to administer all that much. i’d sort of rather just companion plant things. you can get a pretty big crop of garlic just sowing among wildflowers, for example.
      i have a dog, so i already talk to my neighbours, but there are quite a few gardeners kicking about, too, and i expect to be able to rope folk in once they see what i am up to.
      thanks for popping by!

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