As we walked past by mini gardens located near the trees in Rotterdam it made us smile. At that time we had no idea that this act of gardening was called ‘guerrilla gardening’. It’s basically raising food plants or flowers on land that you do not have the legal rights to cultivate, such as abandoned sites, areas that are not being cared for, or private property. Guerrilla gardening is performed for many reasons, like political purposes to provoke change or just to make the surroundings look more green.
According to Wikipedia the two of the earliest celebrated guerrilla gardeners were Gerrard Winstanley, of the Diggers in Surrey, England (1649), and John “Appleseed” Chapman in Ohio, USA (1801). The earliest recorded use of the term guerrilla gardening was by Liz Christy and her Green Guerrilla group in 1973 in the Bowery Houston area of New York. They transformed a derelict private lot into a garden. The space is still cared for by volunteers but now enjoys the protection of the city’s parks department.
Have you ever heard of the term ‘bewildering’? It has been used as a synonym for guerrilla gardening by Australian gardener Bob Crombie. But that’s not all. We have found more cool facts about guerrilla gardening. For example, guerrilla gardening takes place in many parts of the world — more than thirty countries are documented. You can find more info online in numerous guerrilla gardening social networking groups and in the Community pages of GuerrillaGardening.org
In the Netherlands we also have an active guerrilla gardening movement. If you take a long walk in the neighbourhoods in Rotterdam, there is a big chance that you’ll spot some guerrilla gardens. As you probably have noticed, more and more flower fields are making way for arable land or buildings. With guerrilla gardening you’ll not only contribute to greener surroundings and give biodiversity a big boost, but also help the bees. And that last part is very important for our ecosystem. The bee population is struggling to find food and you can be the change. If you don’t know where to start we advise you to visit guerrillagardeners.nl
for tips and inspiration.
We’ve also armed ourselves with a shovel, watering can and seeds to feed the bees with a wildflower buffet and add more green to the city streets. Our first guerrilla gardening attempt failed, because the municipality folks destroyed the sprouting seeds. Now we’ve secured the wild flowers with a homemade mini fence. Just after a couple of days of watering we already see some green sprouts reaching for the sunlight. We’ll keep you updated on our Instagram account