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So hands up if you’ve every tried guerrilla gardening! I’ve actually been trying this for years with mixed results! Living in London between 2009 and 2018 left this as the only option some years as we didn’t have a garden. It’s only after green spaces feel like they’ve been taken away from you, you realise how important they are! You could say it’s a similar feeling in lock down with the coronavirus in the UK! I’m really feeling for people living in flats! It was down in London that I started to look for the hidden beauty found in nature, looking for the tiny piece of nature planting itself in the crack in the concrete!
My in-laws used to give me some poppy seeds which went wild in their garden and on my way to work I used to throw the seeds along sides of the roads and any space not covered in tarmac! It wasn’t always that easy but it felt really satisfying walking back months later to see those little yellow flowers pointing up at the sunshine! When we were in South East London we were lucky enough to be surrounded by trees and parks! We noticed there was one plot of land that people were planting their overgrown shrubs which had become too large for their balconies and roof terraces, such an amazing idea!
In recent years I bought the Thompson and Morgan Wild flowers, classic meadow mix. I spilt the pack, half our back garden and half were scattered at the bench we had dedicated to my mum in Sidmouth where we used to go on family holidays. I can’t wait to get back down there and see how they’re doing!
There are many different ways of guerrilla gardening, from finding seed heads on walks and moving them on, to buying packs of seeds! Some companies have even created gardening bombs, or seed bombs which have the seeds surrounded by earth and compost so that no matter where they land they have the right food to get them started!
We’re lucky enough now to have a garden, we’ve left whole areas at the bottom to let wild flowers grow, stinging nettles, brambles, fox gloves and many more! I’ve even seen some violets scattered in the long grass! I find these British native flowers a real inspiration for my work and can’t wait to spend long lazy summer days drawing the native wildlife, insects, birds and plants which will be down there! We also have a huge buddliea plant which really attracted the butterflies! Did you know that buddliea isn’t a native species, even thought it does so well here, I only found this out when I was doing my work with the RSPB and we were choosing a plant to have the birds sitting on. We were unable to use this plant and ended up choosing the long tailed tits sitting on english cherry blossom!
Along with all of the flowers, I’ve been growing vegetables with mixed results in my first year but this year I’ve really stepped it up. I’ve chosen British seeds from Ethical Organic Seeds with the hope that these help the birds and wildlife in the garden. Last year we really succeeded with beetroot and spring onions but this year we’re stepping it up. We’ve got carrots, beetroot, onion, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, parsnip, butternut squash, spring onion, pak choi, courgette, aubergine, spinach, peas, beans, tomatoes and peppers!
We’ve even gone on further and planted in blueberry and raspberry bushes!