Guerilla Gardening is not as sinister as it sounds, with ‘guerillas’ generally focusing on gardening in public spaces in need of some tender loving care. Who knows where it actually started, although I have sketchy memories of Permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison planting tree seeds randomly in public spaces in one of his early videos in the 1980s.
No matter how it started it has certainly gained some serious momentum. How serious? Take for example the world famous Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show which now includes ‘Chelsea Fringe’ an open access version of the exclusive show, complete with guerilla gardening map of London! The Brits even have an International Sunflower Guerilla Gardening day on May 1st! Of course by ‘International’ they really mean northern hemisphere as we’re a few seasons off planting sunflowers down here!
The idea has even been picked up by companies such as Adidas to promote their more eco friendly range of footwear
This no doubt influenced the local production of the television series Guerilla Gardeners which despite being on a big commercial network, managed to step on lots of local council toes and promptly disappeared. I’ve noticed episodes are back up though now if you’re interested.
Closer to home I’ve observed early evidence of guerilla gardening down the Bellarine Peninsula where forward thinking folks of European decent planted olive trees in nature strips over 30 years ago. While being a radical act at the time, the trees have provided useful feedback for the City of Greater Geelong, in showing themselves as a nature strip species which holds its fruit (therefore preventing slippery fruit littering footpaths and creating public liability woes) and can be under-pruned for driver vision etc.
Here is a couple of examples of the Council trialing some nature strip olives in Bell Park.
Recently Backyard Harvest pimped some pavement near the Urban Bean Cafe in Labuan Square, Norlane. We think our vintage potato boxes from a local farmer certainly help to improve a sad looking car park!