Guerrilla Gardener Seen Planting Up Close and Personal


Images by B. Alter

Having been a Guerrilla Gardener groupie for quite a while now, what a thrill to see him, in action, in broad day light! Does that still make him a guerrilla?

The event was hardly a secret... Richard Reynolds, Guerrilla gardener extraordinaire, was planting: turning the bare earth around 6 newly planted trees into little flower beds. He was doing it with the help of local neighbours and as part of the London Leaders programme.

The London Leaders programme was developed by the London Sustainable Development Commission. Each year the programme selects 15 people who are well respected in their fields and willing to commit themselves to a personal project that will make London a more sustainable city.

This year Reynolds is one of the leaders. His project is called " Pimp Your Pavement" which is all about "encouraging more people to take responsibility for a very local patch of their community by focusing on the opportunities of a space that's very immediate, very manageable, very sociable and yet sadly overlooked."

To that end he was in the east end of London, along with the local residents, planting sedum, primula, thrift and bee-loving lavender in this regenerated area. The residents had pushed for the newly paved "piazza" and the adjacent pub is committed to watering the new flower beds.

Reynolds calls it "micro-local" because it is on such a small scale and so manageable and part of every day social, and civil, life. He has been busy this year, visiting Berlin and Cologne, Germany, Glasgow and Amsterdam to talk to the burgeoning guerrilla gardening movements there and make some new links. He says the city authorities in those locales are very encouraging, as compared with London which "tolerates" the activity, barely.

The other London leaders are a fascinating bunch too. They include people from Global Cool Foundation, Happy Kitchen and Project Dirt.

Tags: Activism

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