Sunday, May 20, 2012

Guerilla Gardening

" A Secret Garden"
Catrin Hitchcock

I have a secret garden,
Where I can laugh and play.
I have a secret garden,
Often it's there I stay.

I have a secret garden,
No one else knows its location,
I have a secret garden,
That's gone through a transformation.

My secret Garden used to be,
An average unkempt garden,
It wasn't the place for me,
With all bonfire wood chard and,
Nowhere I could sit,
Or admire the imaginary view.

I grew that garden,
I planted flowers everywhere,
I made that garden,
With little gnomes here and there.

But as I grow old,
So does my secret place.
Flowers withered,
Weeds grow
Gone is the jackdaw,
Gone is the crow.

This was my secret garden,
I played here as I child,
But now as I stare,
Over my secret garden,
I only hope one day,
Another child may put my garden,
To repair....





The tomatoes keep growing, up and up (which is pretty funny, considering they are upside-down). Looking forward to all those yummy tomatoes!

The apples are progressing nicely, and following them are the apricots and the pears. A few lonely peaches are hanging in there.

But the mulberries, oh, my! We share these with the birds, because there is more than enough to go around to all. There must be over a million berries on the two trees. One year we simply put a clean tarp on the ground and shook the tree picking! Major yummy berries, if you haven't ever had one. Mild in taste and not too sweet, they have their own distinct flavor. The ones at the top of the tree, which reach the most sunshine are ripe and it won't be long before the ones near picking level will be, also.  

I read with great interest a mag article on guerilla gardening. What is Guerilla Gardening? It is an urban movement to beautify empty forgotten spaces, just to bring beauty to all.

Guerrilla gardening is gardening on land that the gardeners do not have legal right to use, often an abandoned site or area not cared for by anyone. It encompasses a very diverse range of people and motivations, from the enthusiastic gardener who spills over their legal boundaries to the highly political gardener who seeks to provoke change through direct action. The land that is guerrilla gardened is usually abandoned or neglected by its legal owner. That land is used by guerrilla gardeners to raise plants, frequently focusing on food crops or plants intended to beautify an area. This practice has implications for land rights and land reform; it promotes re-consideration of land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.

Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden in an effort to make the area of use and/or more attractive. Some garden at more visible hours to be seen by their community. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism.

Greenaid is a Los Angeles based organization founded in 2010 by Daniel Phillips and Kim Karlsrud of Common Studio. The organization converts vintage gumball machines to dispense seed balls, a combination of clay, compost and region-specific seeds. Once dispensed, seed balls are tossed or planted in any area that may benefit from wildflowers (Seed bombing). Greenaid partners with business owners, educators and citizens to distribute seedbomb vending machines in various communities worldwide. With region-specific seedbomb mixes, Greenaid aims to integrate and beautify rather than disrupt traditionally bland urban areas such as sidewalks and highway medians.
Guerilla Gardening in an abandoned newspaper stand
In July 1996, Have på en nat ("Garden in a night") was made by the Danish Økologiske Igangsættere ("Organic starters").
An empty piece of land in the middle of the city at Guldbergsgade in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark, was transformed into a garden in a single night. About 1,000 people took part in the project.

Guerrilla gardening has been approached in various different ways. In April 2008 volunteers constructed and installed forty-nine birdhouses along Hanover Avenue in the Fan District of Richmond, Virginia. The birdhouses were purposely designed in an attempt to protect and house the city's native birds such as wrens, blue birds, and finches while deterring the non-native birds. 

One of the guerilla gardening slogans is "Let's fight the filth with forks and flowers". Another slogan is " Pimp Your Pavement, Plant Life In Your Street".

Guerilla Gardening's goal is to plant life in your street. It’s about turning the public realm into a borderless community garden, getting people spilling out of their private space and being creative there. Growing beauty, growing produce, helping nature along the way, it’s all life and it all comes from gardening.

 Guerrilla gardening is defined by how you go about gardening and may encompass vast roundabouts, abandoned lots and even private space, and is enhanced by just where you do it, on the pavement beyond your boundaries. So whether it’s done with or without permission pimp your pavement turns a down trodden thoroughfare into something more life giving. Typically the spaces tended are “tree pits”, those muddy, sandy or gravelly spaces around trees. All to often there’s barely space for the tree, let alone a garden, but look closely and you may realize what looks like solid ground is actually just compacted mud, and with a good forking (careful not to damage the roots of the tree) you’ll have it cultivated.

Guerilla Gardening seeks to change the way we look at and use the public realm, whether as residents, maintenance staff, designers or policy makers. It is an unfunded not-for-profit part-time voluntary activity.

This pretty Victorian street in London is lined with tree pits bursting with hollyhocks, irises, Jerusalem artichokes and a mixture of annuals. It’s hard to believe but this impressive avenue is the work of a blind gardener Sean Canavan. He has spilled out of his front garden, tree pit by tree pit along the road, starting as a guerrilla gardener but earning respect and support from his local government on the way, who he tells me have even removed paving slabs to make his tree pits more practical to plant.

So, anyone can be a guerilla gardener, but we recommend the non-confrontational type. We can all make the world a prettier place, one seed bomb at a time! Editor's Note: Don't miss our recipe for seed bombs in the GARDEN GOODIES section today.

Answer to Yesterday's Puzzle Your Eyes Don't Lie


Q: What's black and dangerous and lives in a tree?
 A: A gorilla with a machine gun. 

Q: What do you get when you put an experimental monkey in a blender? 

A: Rhesus Pieces.

There was a farmer who had a lot of live stock. He had cows, horses, chickens, pigs, and bulls. One day a terrible twister came and the man and his family were only saved by throwing themselves in the nearest ditch. After it was all over, he looked up to see that the house was gone. Saddened by the loss, he went out to see if any of the animals had survived. The horses, chickens, pigs, and cows were laid out flat but the bulls were standing! The farmer was amazed and asked them, "How is it that all the other animals are down and you are still standing?" The bulls replied, "We bulls wobble but we don't fall down!"



How to make a Seed Bomb:
Seed Bombs are the ultimate tool for any Guerilla Gardener. All you need is clay, soil, seeds, water and a bit of love!

You Will Need:
5 parts* clay
3 parts* compost soil
1 part* seeds (its best to use seeds native to your land)
1-2 parts* water
Large bowl
*Parts refer to any form of measurement size you want, cup, mug,etc. 

Step 1: Combine all ingredients, except the water, into a large bowl and mix well until ingredients are combined.
Step 2: Slowly add 1-2 cups water and mix until thick (similar consistently to cookie dough).
Step 3: Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and let sit for 2-3 days until completely hard
Step 4: Toss onto an empty piece of land and watch it grow!

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