News letter 1 April 2009

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« on: April 01, 2009, 01:27:45 AM »

Or the low fi version below.


Dear Guerrilla Gardeners,

I write to you on April Fools Day, a day for fun, for making fools and for challenging foolishness. So it's no surprise that for guerrilla gardeners today is a very special day. In fact 1 April is momentous because exactly 360 years ago a very influential guerrilla gardener planted some vegetables on an English hillside and the repercussions live on. Today protests in his name rock London as the world anticipates the G20 gathering on April 2. Wherever you are more guerrilla gardeners are rocking the world, even if it's simply replacing a crisp packet by growing a crisp lettuce.

In this five minute news update from I bring you...

    * Victory Vegetables
    * Sowing Sunshine
    * Guerrilla Granny
    * Making Connections


On 1 April 1649 Gerrard Winstanley led a group in Surrey planting vegetables on common land. Food prices were high, Gerrard was redundant and he despaired of the injustice of land being owned by so few. With the rallying cry that the earth should be 'a common treasury for all' he established a community of Diggers and passionately pamphleted his visions for a new society. Other 'colonies' sprung up but after eighteen months of increasingly bad reactions the movement disbanded. Gerrard's ambitions went well beyond growing on neglected land and his legacy lives on amongst political radicals as well as those with a streak of horticultural mischief.

For me his determination to grow stuff is the most inspiring legacy. It's time to challenge conventional land use - even the Obama's have dug up some lawn for food. I've enjoyed guerrilla grown tomatoes and sown radishes and lettuce and I'm hearing from more guerrillas turning to fruit and veg with even greater effort. Pollution is a concern for illicit edibles but it needn't be a barrier for growing a provocative symbol of productivity. Eat Seasonably, a new UK campaign, to which I've volunteered some time, launched this week and provides tips for easy fruit and veg growing. It's a useful start for guerrillas too. Share your plans and harvest in the Community or e-mail me.


It's the third International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day on May 1. Originating from Brussels the idea of sowing sunflowers anywhere has been catching on. Beautiful, tasty, wildlife friendly, non-invasive, and very easy to grow, for guerrilla gardeners, and those still wondering how to get started this is the time to dig in! You needn't wait until May 1, consider this a month long party, don't leave the house without a few sunflower seeds in your pocket and find some friends to join you on a walk around your neighbourhood sowing sunshine. Here are a few links for inspiration and to get in touch with other sunflower guerrillas.
    * Join the Facebook event:
    * Read tips and see photos:
And in case you don't live in the northern hemisphere or just don't like sunflowers then be creative and plant something else! Glasgow Guerrilla Gardening have declared April 4 Nasturtium Day.


Ninety-three-year-old Margot 623 is a guerrilla gardener in Totnes, south west England. She is also my inspirational Granny! As a life-long gardener now with little more than a patio (and as a brigadier's widow without an empire to defend) her enlistment to guerrilla gardening was perhaps inevitable. She helped me in London a couple of years ago but has at last now got a local patch. I joined her on the first mission. Her highlight that night was a surprise kiss from a friendly man called "Mike from Shropshire", just one of the perks of hanging around shady street corners.
View the film here:


Plenty of guerrillas operate solo, but some want to find others near them, garden in force and get some inspiration. You could wait until you bump into some guerrillas late at night or instead explore online. There are now lots of different ways of making connections with guerrilla gardeners. Here are some of them:

    * Local Community
    * Local websites, e.g. LA Guerrilla Gardening
    * Facebook groups, e.g. Guerrilla Gardening Australia
    * Twitter, e.g. me, Richard_001

And finally, sorry if you've e-mailed me and I haven't replied. I read everything and I do reply to most correspondence but the inbox sometimes becomes rather too abundant and some of your wholesome (and even fruity) messages drop off the tree and rot on my hard drive before I get in touch. Just pester me and I'll do my best.