Guerilla gardening means taking care of an abandoned site or area not cared for by anyone. It is often done in reaction to a noticeable issue in the community and its environment - for example fly tipping or lack of green spaces. It can be, but doesn’t have to be, an act of defiance towards the local council or those held responsible for the problematic situation. But for me, guerilla gardening is about making positive change.
On Monday I went to a monthly meeting of Caldmore Neighbourhood Watch to learn more about my (still new) community, its problems and institutions. And while the group seems to be doing a great deal reporting lots of issues such as holes in the road, illegal parking, fly tipping, criminal behaviour and so on, it is also very critical. Everything seems to be about issues to be resolved (and yes, there is no end to them) and the ones that have been reacted to by the Council, the Police and other services tend to be easily forgotten. What was missing there - and made me feel quite hopeless and a tad depressed - was thinking positive. Why don’t we work together to make the difference and appreciate the work we have done so far?
Guerilla gardening is community arts. And while many people would shy away from calling themselves artists, there is an art form there, there is a community and there is a change, even if at a very small scale. And there is a lot of social capital to be built there, I tell you!
Caldmore Guerilla Gardeners adopted an unused piece of land at the corner of Arundel Street and West Bromwich Street in Caldmore, Walsall. The place was always full of rubbish, with some evidences of fly tipping too.
The garden was planted in the first half of May 2012. The plants were partly bought by its creators, but mostly donated by Walsall DIY - a hardware and gardening store on the other side of the road. Its owner saw us working for two days, thought we were absolute (yet positive) nutters but then decided to get involved and reward our hard work.
The garden has been since cared for daily both by its creators and local community members. It has been watered by people from Greedy Pig Cafe and Caldmore Timber - http://www.caldmoretimber09ltd.co.uk/ - and there is hardly any rubbish any more. Caldmore Timber has promised to make a new wooden fence to protect the garden.
Saturday, 09/06/12, saw us doing quite a lot of weeding. The owner of Walsall DIY donated new surfinias and violet plants and gave us a huge discount on soil, plant food and few pots of pansies. We got a lot of positive feedback from passing members of the community, with one of them donating a beautiful lavender plant!
Needless to say - I feel elevated! There is a lot more to be done, we are thinking of working on the rest of the green patch to get rid of all the rubish and plant some flowers, too. Stay tuned!