Saturday, 2 April 2011

Guerrilla Gardening a Strawberry Patch

Out the back of my sisters' house there is a strip of land that no one takes care of. It has been wild for years. If you call Oxford University, to whom their house belongs, they say the land is not something they will a take care of, but neither is it the responsibility of the neighbours. Today we had a little guerrilla gardening party to hack back the jungle and reclaim the space. My sister hired a skip for the green waste, and wheel barrow after wheel barrow of branches, brambles and weeds were tipped into it, until it was overflowing. My twin, Gemma, made the best bird feeders, carving a rabbit, an elephant and a dinosaur from wood, and conscripting the children to paint them bright colours. Each creature had a hollow tummy, in which a hook was fixed to hang food for the birds. There were wind chime bells to hang from the trees too. I took control of a small patch, and surrounded it with big rocks. I dug out the soil in the middle, removed all the weeds, and planted a strawberry patch. It looked great and I was very proud. My sisters' husband gave the barbecue its first outing of the year and cooked up a great lunch for us all. It was a good day.

I have read a lot about many good gardeners who are taking the time to garden the land in towns and cities that no one takes responsibility for. They grow flowers and food for the local people to use. This always strikes me as an excellent use of space. Some people say this is stealing other peoples' space, that there is no such thing as land which does not belong to someone. However, guerrilla gardeners are not stealing space, they are caring for it. Anytime the owner wants to do something more useful with the space they have, it is still there for them to use. I'll nick back the strawberries first though :)

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