Secret gardens

Guerilla gardening: gardening on a piece of property, usually public land that does not belong to you

According to Wikipedia (which is, of course, a totally reliable source) ‘London has a diverse range of peoples, cultures, and religions, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries. In July 2007, it had an official population of 7,556,900 within the boundaries of Greater London, making it the most populous municipality in the European Union. The Greater London Urban Area (the second largest in the EU) has a population of 8,278,251 while the metropolitan area (the largest in the EU) has an estimated total population of between 12 million and 14 million.’

So it should be no surprise to find, with so many people in such a diverse space that there will always be secret things going on to uncover.

Little did I know that every day I catch the bus to work, I pass two guerrilla gardens – one on the Elephant and Castle roundabout and one just along from it at St George’s Circus.

They were planted by a guy I’ve been researching as a potential feature idea for Go Ape’s magazine Tribe: Richard Reynolds. He’s a guerilla gardener. He goes out at night and plants up pieces of derelict public land abandoned by local councils. Although it inevitably becomes a kind of political statement about the use of open spaces and our attitudes to the urban environment, more than anything he does it because he enjoys gardening but living on the tenth floor of a tower block makes this tricky.

Having read his Twitter feed and watched bits of videos of him, I think I might have developed a bit of a crush. I certainly feel inspired to get my gardening gloves out and get some plants in my backyard for next summer. But instead of reading my third hand description of what he does, I’ll let you watch him talk about it instead.


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