Guerilla Planting

For Week 18 of the Great Wake-Up, Chris set us the challenge to plant or sow something green in an empty space.

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It was the best of challenges, it was the worst of challenges... Did I actually sow anything this week? Well, no. That's not a great idea when your local soil is clay and your local weather is freezing rain... What I did manage, though, was reflecting on my guerilla gardening over the years. I love creating havens, and (cheat alert) I design gardens in my spare time...

My first adventure in guerilla gardening was plating 150 native daffodil bulbs in the hedgerow across the road to bloom for me every spring. Then I added primroses. Should I mention my penchant for native plants, and plants that support wildlife? Interested? Get a copy of English Plants For Your Garden - or just ask at a local nursery. Plant people are really friendly, and generous with their knowledge.

And it grew from there - I loved watching scrubby earth become something beautiful, and a haven for more than just me. In my last garden I built a wildlife pond - native plants, no fish, pebble beach, the lot. And before I knew it there were frogs, newts, dragonflies and all the local birds enjoying the water.

We've moved now, to a new build house in a new build estate - life was too busy for my big garden and our old house - but the picture above is my greatest success in the new garden. Since planting the patch of mud the builders left behind, we've had hedgehogs, birds, frogs, butterflies and bees visit. But there were no ladybirds to eat my pesky greenfly. So I bought some - yes, you can buy both larvae and young ladybirds - and seeded my garden with them. And the beauty above is just one of the thriving colony who now keep my flowers greenfly free!

Drunk on that success, I've just bought some new pond plants with a purpose. I love newts - gorgeous little Godzillas that tear around the pond in spring - but you can't buy them, or move them if you find them... So I bought loads of newts' favourite plants for laying eggs in - coincidentally right around the time newts lay eggs... And I'm crossing my fingers for successful sowing from that latest adventure in guerilla gardening!

Chris, I'm so glad it's not just me - but you seriously did not sow that massive rhododendron just a couple years ago!


cat lover, wife, designer, analyst (the spreadsheet kind...), friend, sister, daughter, writer, consultant, lover of beauty...


Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
over 5 years ago
Lovely enthusiasm :)
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
Wow! That's amazing, another world. I admire people who build and cultivate a garden. It takes patience and imagination. Lovely post. Makes me feel like I've missed out but I've never had a garden to play with and the apartment we are currently buying of course hasn't got a garden. I like the idea of this guerrilla planting though. There's something magical about it. Your post is an inspiration. I hope my flowers grow and it inspires me to be a bit of a Banksy but in the flower world with flowers blooming all over the place! Thanks for the inspiration. Mark.
Go to the profile of Sarah-Kate Goodwin
over 5 years ago
Vanessa, what a wonderful life you live. To be honest I had absolutely no idea how to go about Guerrilla gardening, tending to have avoided gardening knowing that It would require ALOT of time, energy and research. You have inspired me to get out there and get something sown. I bought my bulbs today and will be grounding them this week hopefully. I also love newts, keep us posted in their development and more photos of your beautiful gardens would be lovely! x
Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Thanks, All! Sarah-Kate, thank you for saying that, because I'd never really thought of my life as wonderful - just a bit dull and pedestrian, to be honest... Your perspective made me look at it with fresh eyes and I feel really grateful. Good luck, all, with your planting - it doesn't always work but when it does it is so worth it!
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
over 5 years ago
Ha! You caught me out ;) I think it is possibly one of the oldest and biggest rhododendrons ever...BUT maybe someone guerilla planted it back in time..Great post V...C x
Go to the profile of Eric Landreneau
over 5 years ago
Guerilla gardening sounds like a trend that should catch. You've leveled up into combination Guardian, Animal Master and Sister of Trees: guess one job title alone wasn't enough for you :-)