Coined in 1973 by Liz Christy and her Green Guerrilla group in New York City, guerrilla gardening uses “seed grenades” as a way of introducing vegetation to empty lots in NYC in order to make the city look better. First made from condoms filled with local wildflower seeds, water and fertilizer, the use of these “bombs” was the start of the Guerrilla Gardening movement, which continues it’s activities today – both right out in the open during the day and in secret at night.
Over the years, their “bombs” have taken many different forms, from the first condom-filled versions to mud and clay seed balls to hollowed-out eggs filled with wildflower seeds, compost, and water. However they are made – and whatever they are made out of – the concept is the same: fill something throwable with seeds which can be tossed into empty lots. Sure, people do actually plant some of them, but I think throwing them is much more fun.
Imagine if everyone started guerrilla gardening in their hometowns, filling in all those empty spots and roadside tracts of land with flowers and/or food; sure would make this world a better looking place, no?
Participating in guerrilla gardening is civil disobedience without all the “going to jail” parts that so often come when trying to do the right thing for the environment. No one really suffers, the environment comes out ahead, and city lots get a makeover and are filled with beautiful flowers or edible gardens. Sounds pretty civil indeed, if you ask me!
Want to get involved in doing some guerrilla gardening of your own? You know you do! Over at GuerrillaGardening.org, their mission statement says that:
There is neglected orphaned land all over the place. Pockets of resistance have broken out in some areas as guerilla gardeners fight back to reclaim this precious resource and cultivate it.
At the site, you can find a whole mess of tips for getting started, such as:
Spot some local orphaned land.
Plan a mission.
Find a local supply of plants.
Choose plants for front line battle.
Bag some bags.
Once ready to get started, you can use the website to find local groups already working to make our cities and towns more attractive, or you can start your own “cell” to draft others into service. The community there shares pictures of their work along with a Facebook page.
If you happen to live in a major metro area, chances are there is a local guerrilla group looking for members. In Los Angeles, for example, Los Angeles Guerrilla Gardening is on a mission to plant 1,000 trees in Inglewood on January 26th, location TBD. Would you be available to help them out?
Not interested in doing your own seed bombing but still want to support the cause? There is a shop page on the website as well, where they sell books and lavender pillows to raise funds.
An important thing to note, should you be considering this type of gardening, is to only use seeds native to the area you live in. The last thing you want to do is introduce invasive species that could take over and potentially kill off all the native plants!
What are you waiting for – get started!