Next time you pass by a beautiful and out of place green patch you might have a guerrilla gardener to thank for it. Guerrilla gardening is planting anything from seeds to full grown plants on often neglected property without the owner’s knowledge or consent. While guerrilla gardening is sometimes a political act, and is technically illegal, many of the gardening acts are meant to beautify and inspire. Below are 6 examples of random acts of gardening or guerrilla gardening.
1. People’s Park is one of the largest and most publicly known examples of guerrilla gardening. The park began as a plot of land in Berkeley, Ca, owned by UC Berkeley and abandoned from original plans to turn it into student parking. In 1969, community leaders and residents came together with a proposed plan to turn it into a park without University approval. Confrontation between police and the local community followed, but today People’s Park is a free public space.
2. The Liz Christy Community Garden was the first garden planted by gardening activists, the Green Guerrillas. The garden, which was planted in 1973, is located in Manhattan and is open to the public. Although the garden site was rented from the city by the group, many of the workshops held at the site were taught in the spirit of the members who began planting seed bombs and other plants in neglected plots of land throughout the city.
3. Not all guerrilla gardening needs to be large. Many of the smaller plantings are just as beautiful and often manage to make a larger statement. In Toronto, Canada street artist Posterchild plants flowers inside the empty flyer boxes found all over the city.
4. Another visual street artist, La Pok, based in Melbourne, Australia created this hanging garden using an old stereo as a street installation piece. La Pok, who refers to himself as a landscape architect, has created many outdoor garden pieces using computers, shoes, and even toasters. The designs are thoughtful and engaging, and many provoke an emotional reaction.
5. London based environmental artist, Anna Garforth, creates installations pieces from various natural and recycled elements including moss. Although moss graffitti is different from other acts of guerrilla gardening, it makes a similar environmental statement while using and beautifying public spaces, oftentimes without prior consent.
6. Sunflowers in a sewage drain may be one of the most unexpected gardening acts to be found. It begs the question who put them there? How were they planted? Will they continue to grow? Whether they are found in fields or down sewer drains, sunflowers are sure to add a smile to anyone’s face.
Guerrilla gardening might have a message behind it or it might not. What it often does is make people smile. When you are surrounded by the concrete jungle on all sides and you haven’t seen so much as a sprout of grass in weeks, an unlikely garden, no matter how small, can remind you that beauty is often found in unexpected places.