HBL goes guerrilla gardening

Monday, 16 May 2011

Vanessa Harden (pictured far right) taught us how to construct seed pills
This weekend, WGSN-homebuildlife went on a guerrilla gardening field trip with award-winning subversive gardener Vanessa Harden to distribute seed pills along the south London riverside, in an event organised by Jotta as part of the Diesel School of Island Life programme.

Harden talks us through the secrets to a successful guerrilla garden

We congregated at The Museum of Garden History to learn a little about the movement we were about to join, and also to be shown by Harden how to construct the seed pills we were about to use. Each seed pill contains some soil and a small number of seeds, and will dissolve in rainfall and (hopefully) fertilise in the ground it was thrown into.

The ingredients for seed pills

Harden came up with the idea of seed pills after seeing how cumbersome a seed grenade (the traditional guerrilla gardener's weapon) was to carry around, and messy once used. Seed pills, however, are the size of an aspirin: small enough to carry around in your pocket and distribute wherever an area of earth or uninspiring patch of weeds could do with sprucing up.

Making seed pills

After scattering our seed pills around the Elephant & Castle area, we visited a successful guerrilla garden on a traffic island near Harden's studio, which she maintains along with a fellow guerrilla gardener. The largest of its kind, it serves as proof that the practice is feasible and worthwhile, adding a cheerful burst of life and colour to an otherwise drab, forgettable urban area.

The guerrilla garden on a traffic island

We each left the event equipped with a bagful of empty pill cases, a few packs of seeds, and a freshly-minted Guerrilla Gardener membership card.

A seed pill ready to dissolve - and hopefully blossom
Watch out for an interview with Vanessa Harden on WGSN-homebuildlife soon.