Saturday, 21 July 2012

Guerrilla Gardening: "Do the right thing - plant trees"

Guerrilla gardening is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. It is everything that makes me passionate about gardening, bush regeneration and the environment. The reward and satisfaction of seeing plants, you have planted into a non-productive, weedy space is so gratifying and pleasing. I love it. I hope that others can feel and do the same. 

My current guerrilla gardening project...
Before I began planting here, this site contained ONE tree...this callistemon  (bottlebrush) you can see in the middle ground.
It is a little difficult to tell from the pictures but over the last 6 months to one year, my project has developed really well and I am happy with the results. Before I started on this project, I had been thinking about guerrilla gardening for a while, however, I needed to stop thinking about it and just do it. This park is in the same suburb as my home and my first attempt failed dismally. This park is in a couple of sections. It is more a thoroughfare between a top street and a bottom street with some greenspace and some 'old' spaces that were perhaps supposed to hold plants but either died or never got planted. I planted some plants in the top space but upon my return a month or so later, the plants had disappeared. I suspected that residents had pulled them out, not knowing what they were and fearing that their water views would be ruined (don't be shocked, this often happens and it is incredibly frustrating). So I decided to work on the lower space, with much success...plants are doing well!

The mighty Cupaniopsis anacardioides OR the common name, Tuckeroo. What a great name for a tree and a very sturdy tree that is. This tree will grow in so many ridiculous conditions, so it is the perfect guerrilla tree planting specimen. BTW this is an Australian native. All my guerrilla plants are Indigenous natives to the area. So I suppose you could also call it guerrilla bush regen.
For more information: 

Before I began planting here, this site contained one tree, therefore, it is reasonably susceptible to being overgrown by weeds. Council sprayers spray the weeds every few months and I must be sure that the plants I plant are supposed to be there and are not weeds. 
The arrows point to dianellas. These are also a good guerilla gardening plant as they are easily propagated  from runners and they spread reasonably quickly, suppressing weeds, looking good and the berries are edible. 

I like to use wooden stakes around the plants, to ensure the council sprayers don't 'accidentally' poison my plants. 

I am extremely happy with these mighty plants. The beautiful banksia...I was lucky enough to snatch these up from a left over bush regen job. I have planted three and they are doing exceedingly well (touch wood). Over the past 6 months, they have shot up from about 60cm to almost 2metres high. Once these are established, they will look great, offer shade and be beautiful to look at. In the background, you may see some acacias. I cannot remember what variety they are, I know that they will grow to about 3 or 4m high. I planted these from tubs about 6months to one year ago and these have shot up so quickly. They are also another great guerrilla gardening plant, very easily obtained from tubestock or propagated by oneself. 

This is a small section alongside the path that leads down the lower level. Overrun by non-productive and boring weeds, I have planted some dianella tubes, blady grass and other native grasses I have propagated. My dad, who works as a bush regenerator  detests blady grass, and in some cases, I agree with him.However, it is a good guerrilla gardening plant, as it is incredibly tough, spreads quickly and suppresses weeds. I would much prefer to see a tuft of blady than an area overrun by bidens or lantana. I am lucky that there are spare rocks lingering around the site which I can use in my 'gardening' (see above). 

Some tips:
- if you are interested in doing some guerrilla gardening, choose a site. Start small, start big.
- choose your plants: Indigenous natives? Veggies? Flowers? Make a seed bomb (I plan on doing this as the weather warms up). 
- In some cases, I propogated plants, I bought them or had leftovers from work that I could use. 
- Sometimes I do put some money into this, it is my hobby and it is something I enjoy doing so I don't mind spending some dollars on tubestock natives, which are very cheap anyway - about $2-$3 per tube. 

1 comment:

  1. Guerilla gardening????? It sounds like alot of fun, extreme gardening. Guerilla as in see how fast and how much you can change and produce in the next month or so

    -Adam Ahmed