Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Seedbombs or green grenades and guerilla gardening

One of the great things about gardening is the amazing number of people who have a clear need to try to improve their immediate neighbourhood environment. 

I won't go into the the proven mental, social and spiritual benefits of a green outlook but if you live on a bleak housing estate or are trapped and isolated in a flat, what options do you have? Green walls? Possibly not on this scale - but we'll look at those later.

So, what does this leave you with? Indoor plants are probably your best bet, with any outdoor window boxes or pots at the risk of vandalism, theft or complaints about restricting the pathway. But is indoor enough to give you a shot of the green spectrum we all need?

Simple things like seedbombing (just love the thought of that!) and guerilla gardening which can transform derelict and unloved spaces and give a real uplift to the spirits has come to the fore. Done responsibly and in the right place I think this is a brilliant idea and to be welcomed. 

Photo image from artizuk.com

Seed bombing involves buying or making balls, heart shapes or any other shape you fancy really. 

Image from greenmoxie.com
Image from thriftyandgreen.com

Usually made of a mixture of potters clay, compost and seeds of your choice, you can also buy commercially made ones. These can contain a mix of seeds or a single variety. You can choose from poppies, wildflower mixes, herbs, edible flowers, wildlife habitat and many more. 

There are lots of sites on the net to help you choose and prepare your own seed bombs eg

Green grenades are the same idea but have a distinct military look. The intent and execution is identical - to spread and germinate seed on impact and enliven a depressing area.

photo by justive.us

Can you imagine how glorious a scrubby corner patch could become with this treatment? What a boost to everyone's morale and we all benefit - even subconciously. 

Guerilla gardening has come a long way since its original emergence as ninja garbed individuals planting plants or bulbs under cover of darkness in any tree pit, roadside edge or roundabout.

The mental images that spring to mind are completely surreal, but these radical gardeners certainly brightened up many an otherwise concrete urban area.
This kind of planting had to be carried out under cover of darkness to avoid prosecution as bizarrely in the Uk it is regarded as criminal damage to beautify a public space!

Guerilla gardening has moved on, evolving into an issue best described as something most local councils now turn a blind eye to or on occasion actively support by gifting a space to the local community to develop into a garden area.

This is a space I visited some years ago in London and was quite literally a bomb site from WW11. In Bonnington Square, in a fairly, at that time,  run - down area. 

As luck would have it one of the residents was a young man called Dan Pearson, now a well known garden designer. He helped design and transform a real eyesore and dangerous area into an amazing green space, with benefits for all the residents.
Now registered with the local civic society the square is a desirable residential area - totally improved with the addition of this garden and the efforts of the residents.

So, in short, if you're not happy with what you see around you - do something!

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