It’s true; I regularly break the law…most weekends in fact. Before you get images of shop-lifting, drug-taking or property destruction…it’s a far more ‘middle-classed’ version of illegal.
I am a guerrilla gardener!
Most weekends my husband and I walk our dogs around our local area complete with secateurs and bin bags. Any overhanging foliage is carefully trimmed back or tidied away to ensure safe passage and aesthetic joy, whilst litter is picked up and disposed of accordingly.
This in itself is considered illegal…. I hope by this point you are surprised…maybe even appalled…asking ‘why?’, ‘how come?’ or even ‘don’t be silly!’ Guerrilla gardening, however, is not a new concept. In the 17th century a socialist group called the Diggers began a campaign to allow ordinary folk the opportunity to cultivate the land around them and whilst it is still, in some circles, seen as a hippy-esque movement, it is growing in recognition and activity especially in urban environments.
We didn’t intend to go rogue though. It was only after enquiring about the lack of maintenance from our Local Authority that we took matters into our own hands…literally. The Council cited lack of funds for the lack of upkeep, ‘fair enough’ we said, ‘we’ll do it for you’. This was met with a resounding and disappointing ‘no!’ though.
We were told that, due to that old chestnut ‘health & safety’, they could not allow us to undertake the works ourselves even if we promised not to sue! So much for localism I levelled back at them.
And yet the trees and bushes still grow, the litter mounts up, the walkways become in passable – all making for a less than lovely environment that begins to feel unsafe and very unwelcoming.
So yes…we now go out and discreetly tinker to make things nicer….throw the odd seed bomb here and there…we’ve been at it for months. What’s more we’ve got new recruits! We don’t know who just as they don’t know us, but somebody has covered a muddy patch with some bark chippings, somebody else has fixed the wobbly bridge, another bod has planted up lovely flowers in a bald patch…slowly our space is becoming beautiful and loved.
We don’t want recognition, we recognise that there are funding problems that mean things can’t be done by ‘officials’, we have the time, basic knowledge and inclination…but we are not vandals so why should such a ‘good thing’ be a police worthy matter?
I think the Diggers were onto something and I’m pretty proud of my law breaking achievements…so get on board and unleash your inner guerrilla!