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3 simple guerrilla gardening ideas to brighten up the world!

Copyright Mia Judkins via Flickr
Copyright Mia Judkins via Flickr

You might be forgiven for mistaking the guerrilla in the title of this post for gorilla, what with Roots & Shoots’ association with renowned primatologist Dr Jane Goodall. But we can assure that we mean the other kind. According the wisdom of the internet, one definition of guerrilla is “referring to actions or activities performed in an impromptu way, often without authorization” and that’s the meaning here.

But what’s that got to do with gardening, you might ask?

Guerrilla Gardening is a movement that sprang up in response to the lack of plants and wildlife to be found in urban environments and in abandoned or old buildings and ruins. It involved planting flowers and plants in unloved and ugly areas, making them beautiful and a haven for wildlife.

Copyright Russell Davies via Flicker
Copyright Russell Davies via Flicker

Now, originally it meant this:

“Guerrilla gardening is the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to utilize, such as an abandoned site, an area that is not being cared for, or private property.” (Wikipedia 2016)
But over time it’s become softened a little to mean planting flowers on bare patches of land, old tumbledown walls (and even pot holes!), and while we would never recommend doing anything illegal, some guerrilla gardening techniques are perfect for encouraging more plants to grow, which in turn provides food for insects.
We’ve got 3 simple ideas you try yourself. Guerrilla gardening can be done with a little preparation. Firstly, identify your target, and make sure it’s somewhere safe and somewhere you can plant legally. If possible get permission from the owner. Secondly, prepare your tools. You’ll need a packet of wildflower seeds, some soil, some clay and a small bottle of water. A pair of gloves can be useful too. Thirdly, get planting!
Scazza_ https://www.flickr.com/photos/scazzophoto/530233744/in/photolist-NRA27-6atM1E-6mU5oa-6apGSK-bnayAa-6Hrr6h-6cJDti-6WavkY-6W6tmc-4z2ZHr-8p2LsL-8p2yyQ-8p2LmA-8BZbgr-ndNeXL-rxYUXH-8NhYhW-7dB9Ng-fVKsw-gvVWEg-edLav9-DNCpKT-swxfu-7aLheS-7wa8f-6yBJ46-51sByA-iwgoK-eWKQ5n-J587w-ESo7qx-jb72qW-gvJoHG-zak7F-6LkMos-7aGt5p-og2qbt-cpKxB1-6W6tcB-4DPzJh-716FWx-6uehq7-ncjcMS-51svu9-5Msngx-ctAbmU-nchkcK-7ZXHwp-afck5b-51ojDi
Copyright Scazza_ via Flickr
1. Wall Flowers
This is a simple one you can do where you spot a large enough crack in a wall. All you need with you is a small bag of soil and a packet of seeds. Fill the hole with the soil, patting it down to make sure it’s secure. Then pop in a few seeds, pushing them down a centimetre of two into the soil and covering over with more soil. Give the seeds and soil a little sprinkle of water. Don’t forget to keep visiting to see how your seeds are doing!
2. Seedlings to go
If you want to give your wildflowers a head start, you can try germinating them at home, then planting them out in the wild. A simple way to do this is to make plantable seed pots using blotting paper and old toilet paper rolls. Cut the roll in half, use the blotting paper to seal the bottom, fill the roll with soil and then add some seeds and some water. Once they’re germinated, you can plant the whole thing pot and all! If you don’t have time to make the pots, you can also buy small plantable plant pots cheaply.
Copyright Urbanfoodie33 via Flicker
Copyright Urbanfoodie33 via Flicker
3. Make your own seed bombs!
Seed bombs are perfect for spreading wildflower seeds on bare patches of land or old wasteland. Wildflowers aren’t just beautiful; they’re an essential source of food for insects such as bees (and if you want to know how important bees are for the planet, read our Dustbowl briefing comic and activities to find out more).
You can make seed bombs up in advance, then carry them with you. When you spot somewhere you’d like to use them, just throw them onto the ground hard and hey presto, when the rains come they’ll water your seeds and help them grown.
To make seed bombs, you’ll need some wildflower seeds, some soil, and some air-drying craft clay which you can find in lots of arts and crafts shops.  Mix up the clay, soil and water until it’s damp but mouldable. Shape it into a ball, then push some wildflower seeds into the centre, and cover the hole. Leave them bombs until they are thoroughly dry, then they are ready to use. Simple!
There’s a great activity sheet on the Kids Gardening website that takes you through the process, step by step.

 

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