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On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening without Boundariesby Richard Reynolds
Synopses & Reviews
Gardeners, unite! A call to reclaim the drab and neglected urban spaces of our cities and towns through stealth gardening tactics.
Four years ago, Richard Reynolds found himself without a garden to call his own. Stuck in a London apartment building without so much as a windowsill, he began to sneak out under cover of darkness to plant flowers in the building's neglected public flower beds. Encouraged by his victory, he advanced to other "orphaned" patches of land in his neighborhood and reached out for support by setting up a Web site, www.guerrillagardening.org. Before long, thousands of guerrilla gardeners worldwide had enlisted on the site, all stealthily cultivating someone else's land — whether to beautify their neighborhoods, to bring their communities together, as a political gesture, or for basic subsistence.
Part manual, part manifesto, On Guerrilla Gardening gives you everything you need to join the revolution. Drawing on the venerable origins of the movement to reclaim our public land, from victory gardens to New York's Green Guerrillas, the book takes us to sites of illicit cultivation from San Francisco to Singapore, London to Libya. Packed with photos, stories of battles won and lost, and practical advice — such as how to plan an attack, what plants to have in your arsenal, how to evade the authorities, and how to use propaganda effectively — On Guerrilla Gardening is an irresistible invitation to shoulder your shovel and strike out beyond your picket fence.
"With the rallying cry, 'Let's fight the filth with forks and flowers,' this lighthearted guide is a seriously silly romp through the adventurous pastime of gardening other people's plots. Reynolds, after five months living in a 10-story tower block in London, missed gardening and began surreptitiously cultivating the planters in front of his building, gardening in the dead of night to avoid interference. He started a blog to share his delight in illicit gardening, and discovered he was part of an international movement. Reynolds draws inspiration from pioneers of the movement: New York community gardens built on vacant lots, dispossessed Honduran Chiquita workers who appropriated abandoned banana plantation land, and Gerrard Winstanley, founder of the short-lived but influential Diggers who, in the tumultuous year of 1649, planted beans and barley on public land in Surry, England, 'that every one that is born in the land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation.' He borrows techniques from more infamous guerrillas such as Che Guevera and Mao Tse Tung ('the guerrilla "must move with the fluidity of water and the ease of the blowing wind"'). Both a manifesto and a manual (tips include how to build seed bombs and deal with pests unique to the guerrilla form of gardening: authorities and landowners), the book delights with tales of exploits from the anarchic, artistic community of guerrilla gardeners." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
When Richard Reynolds began planting flowers secretly at night outside his tower block in South London he had no idea he was part of a growing global movement committed to combating the forces of neglect, land shortage and apathy towards public spaces. But his blog GuerrillaGardening.org attracted other guerrillas from around the world to share their experiences of the horticultural front line with him and become a focal point for guerrilla gardeners everywhere. On Guerrilla Gardening is a lively, colourful treatise about why people illicitly cultivate land and how to do it. From discreetly beautifying corners of Montreal to striving for green communal space in Berlin and sustainable food production in San Francisco, from small gestures of fun in Zurich to bold political statements in Brazil, cultivating land beyond your boundary is a battle many different people are fighting. Unearthed along the way are the movement's notable historic advances by seventeenth century English radicals, a nineteenth century American entrepreneur and artists in 1970s New York. Reynolds has researched the subject with guerrilla gardeners from thirty different countries and compiles their advice on what to grow, how to cope with adverse environmental conditions, how to seed bomb effectively and to use propaganda to win support.
On Guerrilla Gardening gives entertaining inspiration, practical reference and no excuses for not getting out there and gardening.
About the Author
Richard Reynolds was born in 1977 and grew up gardening with his family. His first illegal cultivation was at college, where he planted windowsills with boxes of Busy Lizzies. He has been a guerrilla gardener in earnest since 2004; his Guerrilla Gardening organization now has thousands of active members worldwide and has been featured on ABC, NPR, the BBC, Richard and Judy, the Washington Post, and many other places. Aside from his guerrilla activity, he works as an advertising planner. He lives in London.
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