Guerrilla Gardening (Google / Green Daily)

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Guerrilla Gardening

by Cat Lincoln

How many times have you walked or driven past a vacant city lot and wished that someone would do something with that space?

In some case, Guerrilla Gardeners are taking action themselves, transforming neglected land into community parks, flower patches or urban vegetable gardens.

Richard Reynolds, the subject of the video above, is the author of “On Guerrilla Gardening” a book about this form of green direct action, which is almost 400 years old and practiced in more than 30 countries.

Around the world, from the U.S. to Denmark, France and Italy, and of course England, home of the world’s maddest gardeners, green thumbed activists transform barren urban environments by planting sunflower seeds, lavender, or full flower and shrub landscaping.

Some Guerrilla Gardening is focused on land use and ownership. It grapples with issues like, if an abandoned lot is cultivated by neighborhood farmers, and produces vegetables for the community, can the owner turn up at a later date and auction off the property? Does cultivation confer ownership? Or is it just a neater form of squatting?

The more accessible version, such as that practiced by Reynolds, seems more focused on giving nature every opportunity to make the world a more beautiful place. If you see a patch of unused dirt, plant something pleasing, and care for it.

Reynolds is delightfully entertained by the “illegality” of what he does — making the world nicer! — and it’s very tempting to join in. His site,, offers a wealth of tips for the sneaky flower grower.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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