Guerilla Gardening

Week 18 in the Great Wake Up challenge- some wild sowing or planting just for the heck of it.

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I was delighted at the idea of this week’s experiment. I love the fact it’s a bit rebellious but also its giving something back – so you could get into trouble for doing something good. I’ve always admired people who transform urban spaces with some plants and lots of imagination, giving their time and putting their backs into something which will give pleasure to countless others. I’ve also been fascinated by those crazy knitters known as ‘yarn bombers’, who anonymously descend on an outside spaces and cover them in knitting just for the heck of it. I am a hopeless knitter so I will stick to the gardening even if I do have a bit of a slap dash approach to it.

One of my favourite childhood memories is summer Sunday afternoons after Sunday school ( which I hated). To celebrate surviving the weekly horror of bible study where I was bullied for my terrible reading of the psalms in Welsh my Mam would send me out to the greenhouse with a colander where I would go and pick some salad for our tea. I remember picking lettuce, radishes and plum tomatoes, as well as helping my dad furrow the garden for peas and potatoes. If I have a whiff of tomato plant now I am transported instantly back to our back garden circa 1977. Over the years as a city dweller and then living in town houses my gardening was fairly limited to some sunflowers grown in pots on the patio and a failed attempt at a herb garden. The one successful exception was a yucca plant ( called Iwan) which I nurtured during my A level revision. Even caring for a yucca was more desirable than studying the inner workings of human DNA.

When I moved to the house I am in now, I suddenly had the chance to revisit growing something I could eat but I didn’t know where to start. One of my best friend’s teenage son was in a gardening club in his school and they were looking for projects they could practice on. She suggested I let loose a mini bus of prepubescent teens on my garden. It seemed like a perfect solution. I gave them a few quid to gets some plants and a friend kindly dropped off some top soil. I came home one evening to find an army of hard working uniform clad boys transforming my dull and lifeless garden. Finally I had my own vegetable patch. I can’t tell you how proud I was to watch those green shoots emerge and flower. The day I pulled up my first potato after a 30 odd year gap I could not have been prouder. What with my hens we could now have egg and chips on the menu any night of the week!

So this experiment was no hardship for me. Early one rainy morning last week I headed off with a trowel and some dahlia bulbs to a small piece of scrub land near an iron bridge which crosses a stream that I take Ted to every morning. I furtively looked around and set about with my trowel and bulbs. No one passed and no one asked any questions I think the rain and the early time of day was probably a good time to embark on my maiden ‘Guerilla’ voyage. I don’t know whether these bulbs will blossom in the future but if they do I will see it as a symbol of my blossoming on the Wake up journey.

Fiona Dolben

Acupuncturist, holistic therapist, content creator., Hemp Holisitics

I'm a single parent of ONE lovely lanky teenager.. I live in deepest rural Wales . My 'proper' job is in marketing and events but I am also a trained reflexologist, masseur and reiki giver (go figure!) I also look after my Mum who is in her late 80's, my dog Ted, my cat Black and my hens and dream is to have a small holding and offer people holidays in my teepee and maybe the odd therapy as you can see I am a mass of contradictions.... I like to walk, do yoga, eat salad and visit new places but I also like to drive fast, Feast ice lollies, vodka on Friday's with friends(, which leads to dancing in my kitchen) my coffee , and staying up late... I can be outgoing but also extremely shy so like the rest of you I am still trying to figure it out one day at a time...


Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
What an idyllic childhood - I could feel those sun shiny 1970's days washing over me - happy days!
Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Go, Fi! Way to embrace the challenge and I hope your dahlias flower! Planning daffodil bulbs for the autumn?
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
over 5 years ago
Great Fi. Intrigued by the 'yarn bombers', must check that out! big love Chris x