Sunday, November 30, 2008

Guerrilla gardeners

Anyone with an engineering degree can put up a bridge that will carry traffic. Any run-of-the-mill architect can erect a building that will keep out the rain.

It is when these skills combine with beauty that humanity is truly uplifted -- when we are bequeathed a Golden Gate Bridge or a Parthenon.

Too much of our modern, so-called public space is dreary, boring, even downright ugly -- and soul-killing. And that's just the hardscape, not the often pathetic attempts to bring in some greenery.

An international movement seeks to change that in a surprising way. They call themselves guerrilla gardeners.

In essence, these folks sneak onto neglected public property by dark of night and plant things. Not cannabis but sunflowers, native plants, etc.

Now, being a gardener myself, I was skeptical at first. Anyone with functioning fingers can drop seeds on the ground and run away. To actually produce a garden requires a few return trips. Watering and weeding soon become necessary.

But I visited and was happily surprised. The man who runs the website does slip back to tend his urban oasises. Even rakes leaves. And sometimes visits by day. I don't know if all his followers are so devoted. Still, more power to them.


Janice Thomson said...

I think it is absolutely wonderful what these people do - bringing back beauty to places so-called progress has destroyed.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Agreed. I find it sad in this state where I live to see concrete and asphalt in so many places where it serves no purpose -- an underused parking lot, for example -- or a swath of grass that requires irrigation and mowing, where a few trees could be planted instead.