March 4, 2011
Guerilla Gardening

Following a “nice cup of tea” at two in the morning, Englishman Richard Reynolds went out to revamp the neglected entrance to his downtown London apartment. The amazing thing was, nothing happened in response to his illegal gardening. This late night “greening” would soon be the first of many gardening adventures without boundaries.

Guerilla gardening is labeled as “illegal” because gardeners focus on public spaces that typically would require permission to alter. Most guerilla gardening takes place after dark.

On Feb.10, the Indianapolis Museum of Art welcomed Reynolds to speak at The Toby as part of its Planet Indy series. The concept of guerilla gardening started in the ‘70s by a Brussels, Belgium, gardening club that wanted to beautify public spaces where land was very precious and no one else was able to help. Target areas included road medians, mulched areas surrounding trees or other public spaces that were often covered with mulch. Guerilla gardening is not limited to flowers, some gardeners have branched out to include vegetables and other edible plants.

Once referred to as a “flower graffiti artist,” Reynolds aims to take blank canvas spaces and turn them into green and flowering gardens. Although the main goal of guerilla gardening is to beautify bleak spaces, one cannot overlook how much fun illegal gardening in the middle of the night has to offer.

After listening to Reynolds and seeing pictures of his and others’ work, I couldn’t help but notice all of the overlooked spaces bursting with potential here in Indianapolis and the rest of Indiana. Hoosiers around the state are beginning to get their feet wet with the idea. For brewing ideas and plans, click here.

For more information on guerilla gardening and Richard Reynolds, visit his website.

Something to look forward to…

May 1st is International Sunflower Guerilla Gardening Day. Don’t be surprised if you see a few extra sunflowers around the Circle City this year.

This post was written by Brittany Smith, an intern with the Indiana Humanities Council. Brittany is a senior Communications major at Butler University. A strong passion for food and agriculture brought her to the Council’s Food for Thought campaign.

Posted In: Miscellaneous

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