Guerrilla Gardener Richard Reynolds has been transforming neglected public spaces, albeit illicitly, around London’s Elephant and Castle into abundant green spaces for the last 13 years.
The gardener plants his beds at night. His guerrilla campaign has seen around 20 spaces reforested, from playgrounds to traffic islands since he first started out. He also spends some of his time simply watering tree pits.
The guerrilla gardening activities came about when Richard Reynolds moved to the SE1 area 13 years ago. He moved into a flat in a high rise block which overlooks the busy Elephant and Castle roundabout in South London. The flat, which he continues to reside in now with his young family, has no garden nor balcony.
Richard Reynolds quickly realised there were several unused public spaces in the area that could easily be turned into green spaces for the local community to enjoy.
The guerrilla gardener’s intentions are to serve the greater good. He assures he does it to raise awareness of the importance of nature and to show that London can be greener.
In some cases, local councils have given the Guerrilla Gardener permission to keep on taking care of the gardens.
His activity has attracted international attention and inspired others around the world to take over neglected public spaces.
Richard Reynolds says: “Guerrilla Gardening – it’s about tending to shabby patches of public land. My garden is in the middle of the road.”
As part of the Chelsea Fringe festival, the Guerrilla Gardener will be taking participants on a one-off walking tour of his guerrilla gardens – from Lambeth North to Elephant and Castle. The free event, which takes place on 25 May, will be a 90-minute guided tour starting at 7pm.
Participants will learn what works in guerrilla gardening, and how Richard Reynolds has got away with his guerrilla activities. For details of the Guerrilla Gardener’s Walking Tour, visit the Chelsea Fringe website.
Chelsea Fringe, which is independent of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, showcases a wide range of work from gardening professionals and enthusiasts. Contributors create installations, events and experiences, exhibits, talks and walks.
Richard Reynolds’ website GuerrillaGardening.org is a resource for those who are interested in guerrilla gardening or “gardening without boundaries”, as he refers to it.
The website provides a platform for guerrilla gardeners around the world, as well as those seeking to become one, to exchange ideas and experiences.
Richard Reynolds says: “Whether you’re making a place more beautiful, more edible, more fragrant, more bio-diverse, more friendly, more thought provoking or all of that, what we have in common is gardening without boundaries.”
Images: © Guerrilla Gardening
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer specialising in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com