Sunday, 14 September 2008

* Guerilla sunflowers spring up around London

On May 1, International Sunflower Guerilla Day, eco-warriors around Europe planted sunflowers in celebration of the first day of summer and nature's fertility.

Guerilla gardening is a slightly subversive way of making ugly, neglected bits of public space beautiful by planting seeds and plants in the dark of night and waiting for them to grow. The result of the midnight efforts of one brave group of gardeners is now in full bloom.

London's guerilla gardeners planted sunflowers across the Thames River from the Houses of Parliament. They found an abandoned rose garden, cleared away the weeds and rubble and threw hundreds of sunflower seeds there. Four months later, despite the gloomiest August in the UK since records began--105.5 hours of sunshine, against an average for the month of 165 hours--a field of splendid tall sunflowers have appeared. They bloom in defiant optimism, thanks to the tolerance or neglect of the municipal garden keepers. A great reason to participate in your neighbourhood; or start a group yourself.

Barnet Green Party has done several pieces of guerilla gardening, most notably at Tally Ho in North Finchley. This is the site of a huge monstrosity misnamed ‘The Art Centre’ In the planning application there was mention of ‘landscaping’, but when Barnet GP brought up the issue after building was completed, we were told: “There IS landscaping – several large concrete pots” Apparently ugly and empty concrete pots fulfilled Barnet Council’s idea of ‘landscaping’. Barnet GP planted shrubs and flowers over two years and now local residents are themselves tending them.

Some years ago, Barnet Council got rid of their gardeners. However, the gardeners had the last laugh. Before they left, they did some seeding outside the council offices. Some months later the leader of the council looked out of his office window and saw a very rude word growing on the lawn:-)

1 comment:

Cathryn said...

Fabulous!! Absolutely the best kind of activism