A manual for gardening without land (Google / Plenty)

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A manual for gardening without land

On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening without Boundaries just came out, and it’s well worth a look from anyone considering gardening “underground.” Divided into two parts, author Richard Reynolds’ work discusses the history of the guerrilla gardening “movement” and, for inspired, would-be guerrillas, he also offers helpful how-tos. As you may know, guerrilla gardeners work to beautify — or, at least, to better use — land which is not technically their own. They often turn their attention to public spaces like those ugly median strips along highways and roads, but privately held, abandoned lots or, say, any wastelands languishing between buildings are also fair game. Some people carry their trowels and seeds under the cover of darkness, but others garden with impunity in the middle of the day. How it all turns out depends on the weather — and the attitudes of the real property owners, city fathers, and passersby.

Reynolds maps worldwide guerrilla “hot spots,” and, as it happens, the movement is thriving in London, across Europe, and in some parts of the U.S. The practice itself has long sparked debate about what it means to own land and how “private” and “public” lands should be used. Whether you live in the city or in a small town, there are, unfortunately, still plenty of opportunities for green-thumbed guerrillas. (I say unfortunately because it would be fantastic to live in a society which values usable green space and food security over asphalt, gravel, and lawn after manicured lawn.)

Should you want to try your hand, On Guerrilla Gardening’s “manual” section can help you to decide what to plant and how, whether disguises might help, and how many “troops” you might need for a particular project.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.