Monday, 1 October 2012

Mucking in

Also... thanks to Helena of Grove Park for some compost! She is spearheading an ambitious plan to guerrilla garden ALL of the tree pits in Grove Park and has kindly donated some compost for my guerrilla works in exchange for some ready to go Michaelmas daisies (and there will be some white daisies, Leucanthemum, and maybe some hardy Geraniums ready in a few weeks too).

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Friends of Borage

Sunday morning; figured [correctly] that not many people would be about Camberwell Green... So I had a thought that the difficult-due-to volume-of-litter patch next to the Job Centre could be the place for the plant I call Friend of Borage. Its a very tough, not to say chronically invasive, perennial that looks fairly like Borage but with white flowers that bees love. Every little bit of any root will grow. Our garden was about 50% FoB when we moved in [now down to about 15%]. On clearing up the bottles, cigarette packets and coffee cups up popped a Southwark council cleaner with brilliant timing. We moaned about people's inability to use bins as I used his trash cart. I also planted a couple of Hollyhocks from the Dog Kennel Hill forest and added some compost [recycled from my aubergine pots]. In this spot one of the hardy geraniums and one of the michaelmas daisies that I previously risked here are also alive - now with a bit of non-dusty soil around them. This side is also less litter heavy so maybe, with the autumn rain it will start looking good. I plan to add to the FoB.
This is the one spot where my guerrilla nasturtiums both grew and flowered - yay. They will self seed...

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Good Counsel

I have finally split up the very pot-bound mass of irises given to me by rose-gardener extraordinaire and painter Lynette and transplanted them to the Dog Kennel Hill patch next to the handful of sunflowers that survived the various weedings and erratic rainfall (and away from the Hollyhock forest). How can I bear to guerrilla garden irises - one of my favourite plants? Because I dont have a space for them where enough sun would bake the rhizomes! Plus, if I did, I would buy more glorious Flag irises from one of my favourite nurseries, Woottens of Wenhaston. I also planted out 3 more Lychnis and 2 more Aquilegia from my mum helping the strip spread up the hill. Today, on-site, I met a local councillor Stephen Govier who was enthusiastic about my adhoc gardening and might even be able to magic up some mulch.
I end so many posts like this it is getting to be a signature file, but - plenty more Hollyhocks to transplant!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Pits of Grove Lane

Surprise! Of the 2 tree pits opposite Johannson's Deli and Restaurant [an intimate Scandinavian joint with a lovely fireplace] one of them has sprung life! A Nasturtium has broken cover and so have a couple of Californian Poppies amid the weeds. This makes me want to actively plant it [not least because the bins near here are often whiffy]. I'm going to my parents' soon to make off with more plants, so headsup for a group dig in a few weeks [the soil will be tough going]. Any suitably hardy plants welcome too.

Gardening Leave

Belated pics of surprisingly successful plot! (I know its a mess but most of the added in plants have made it). These are the raised beds next to the Job Centre on Camberwell Green, bottles and other detritus mostly removed (I only had one small bag with me!). Banana skins welcome though as they rot down quickly and provide potassium for flowers. The cornflowers are fab and will hopefully self-seed. The Solidago is doing well. The fennel and the white daisies are hanging on [the soil is really rubbish]. 2 Nasturtiums are growing. I gave the Buddleia a slight trim [that got some looks], and a waiting bus driver assured me that he didnt leave his rubbish here.

The other side. I've only added in one pale pink Hardy Geranium and a bit of the lilac Michaelmas Daisy thus far.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


If any one would like to donate any compost to further my/our guerrilla activities, dont hold back! Or plants for that matter. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


A view of the patch - after the Chef Solaire and I cleaned it up and transplanted some of the Hollyhocks up the central line of the strip and planted more Crocosmia, Aquilegia, Euphorbia and Hardy Geraniums. You get the sense of the scale of the beast now. For the first time people driving by made positive remarks (instead of merely lewd ones).

I have planted some Sarcococca Confusa to try and a. get some winter sustenance for wildlife and b. protect this purple Cordyline (its coming back to life with all this rain... but this section is otherwise pretty barren).
The next picture shows some of the diverse plants a bit more clearly - the California poppies and Sisyrinchium and unusual Euphorbia. We took quite a few Hollyhocks up to Stories Road, but there are plenty more in need of another home.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


I've just come back from my parents' amazing garden with several more plants for this patch - the tried and trusted Euphorbia and Aquilegia, but can't hack this pissing weather. If its dry tomorrow morning [Monday 9th] I'm meeting the Chef Solaire and we'll continue the glory and thin out a few of the fearsome Hollyhocks. 
I wish other people in Peckham could be rallied - everytime I'm on the 436 I see patches that could easily be filled with plants - esp the dead/empty planters outside the firestation...and underneath the Yucca forest near the bus station... Saw some more Southwark devastation yesterday - a plot of land outside newish housing near Queens Rd station was quite overgrown - but with a fair amount of pollinating wild flowers/weeds, now stripped back to nothing. Gah.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Life and Death in a Garden

Brief update. The tree pit is Morrison's carpark is a washout. Too much foliage from the untrimmed Magnolia? Erratic weather? Anyway, the sole survivor is the Euphorbia. All 3 of the nasturtium seeds I planted in the bare patches that some neighbours call 'gardens' have been 'weeded' out. No, nothing has replaced them. However, 2 more have spouted. One is in the raised bed next to the job centre on Camberwell Green - in which the cornflowers, golden rod and daisies are also surviving. The other is the brilliant though vulnerable location of the tree pit immediately outside The Tiger. This is a big pit and would be ideal were it not for the regular digging up of the pavement and the habit of dumping rubbish bags against the tree. The seedling is inside the mesh around the tree. I will label it and hope.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Nothing But Flowers

Quickly snapped in the evening - but you get the drift right? Flowers! Lychnis, Daisies, California Poppies, Hollyhocks... on Dog Kennel Hill everything is going bananas. As I thought there are Hollyhocks springing up EVERYWHERE - they really need transplanting. I added in 2 x Day Lilies [poisonous to cats you know] and 1 x Liatris, and did 2 bags of rapido style weeding.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


Alrighty. So I met up with the Chef Solaire and enjoyed revamping a tree pit with a. company, b. some fresh compost, c. a slew of plants, and d. passersby who actually talked to us! The Chef scored the compost and some very clay based soil which we dug in after removing loads of cooch grass [sp?] and groundsel and moss and a few small tree roots too. It is a pretty congested pit, however the plants are tough and they will have to cope. We planted: 2 x Dipsacus [teasel], about 5 sprouting roots of Echinops [blue thistle], 1 x Liatris, 1 x Aquilegia. Plus.... I accosted a woman carrying a tray of Busy Lizzies. I thought she was coming to donate on purpose, rather than because I guilt-tripped her... Anyway she donated 2 of them [no nectar! but some colour....]. Another woman en route to Church asked me if I was afraid of being bitten... Of all possible worries that really wasn't among them.  Then, after I had gone home I realised that I hadnt taken an 'after' photo so returned with the lovely N with a batch of vinca, a pink hardy geranium and one of those lilac michaelmas daisies [surprise, Chef!]. So it looks drastically improved and hopefully everything will get going...

Sunday, 3 June 2012

On the dole

One of our cats, Finn the Mighty, has been very sick [90% better now] and the vet suggested something in our garden may be the culprit [shock and horror - we have no lilies and no foxgloves for that very reason]. J found out that annual cornflowers [Centaurea Cyanus] are toxic for cats - and thus, alas, I pulled all 6 of them out. They have gone to the raised bed next to Camberwell Green Job Centre, along with 1 x Solidago, 1 x bronze fennel, 2 x shasta daisies and 1 x helio-something [yellow perennial sunflowerish thing]. I cleared up 2 bags of detritus and weeds to fit them in, and the soil is very poor... [any donations gratefully accepted]. luckily my lovely neighbour N joined me in watering them with liquid feed so maybe they will all take. Passed by on the 12 later that day and no one has taken them. Photos to follow.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

New sites [for the Knights who say Ni!]

I have my eye on the sorely neglected raised beds/walls next to the Job Centre on Camberwell Green. Someone gardened there at one point, there's some box and euonymous amongst the weeds, bottles and other detritus. This could be a great spot to relocate a bunch of yellow flowering plants, including fennel [which is SO great, but does need watering when it is first transplanted or it sulks to death] and golden rod. This would jolly up my time on the no.12.
Chef Solaire -  thinking of the Stories Mews patch, I can pull up some mint [a thug in open soil, but will cope with shade] and some michaelmas daisies [lilac flowers, v tough, copes with dry] and probably some white daisies [leucanthemum, tough, but wont want to be baked] and a pot of crocosmia [tough, self seeds, should need sun but seems ok with half-shade], I think I could also part with a pale pink hardy geranium [tough, self-seeds, ok in shade].

Also - I would love to make over that raised tree pit at the end of Stories Mews/bordering Champion Hill or is Dog Kennel Hill already? Huge potential for a maintainable marvellous flower bed. Atm it is so dry as to be undiggable but maybe it will rain as the temperatures dip over the weekend...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Progress Report

Emergency weeding tackled and 2 x Liatris [gayfeathers] plus 1 x Dipsacus [teasel] added in. The Hollyhocks are monstrous - and really need thinning out and tackling with secateurs. I yanked off some particularly rusty leaves to let some light return to Euphorbia Wulfennii. Meanwhile the Geranium Johnson's Blue are in flower! As is some kind of oriental poppy [orange] and the Aquilegia [white and pink]. Thus it does look like a garden, even if it is one highly vulnerable to dryness [yes even now] and cooch grass [sp?]. The Sisirynchiums are all producing flower spikes even though they are small plants, probably desperate to get out that flower, and the mystery Euphorbia is out looking splendidly exotic. Photos not really up to par - taken quickly on a cameraphone and the weather is overcast...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Nasturtium Nights

A few days of sun, a little more rain, hey presto. Checked 4 sites around Camberwell Grove/Grove Lane and the seeds have germinated. Planted 2 more seeds in the tree pits opposite Johannsons [the Council have at last replaced the missing tree, alas with a London Plane rather than what I think was an Acacia]. Chatted about this to a couple of local hoodies, who asked me if I had planted a seed in the middle of the weed pit in the corner of the carpark at the back of Morrisons. Yes, I said.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Mystery Plant Revealed

Ok. Maybe not _that_ exciting however I think the prolific blue leaved plant that I have planted about 4 clumps of up the Dog Kennel Hill patch is Sisyrinchium (which apparently means 'pig-nose'). As suspected it is very hardy and drought resistant. So far my own clump - in situ for about a year - has not flowered, but my neighbour mentioned yellow spikes. Whatever, its a really useful structural shape and perfect for the patch.

Friday, 20 April 2012


Today I had a dental appointment in East Dulwich. It was sunny for a change and I was bitter about doing something so dull [the cats were even more bitter]. Anyway, on the bus homewards I spied luminous jackets in close proximity to the patch... Oh hell, I thought, and leaped off the bus. Actually it was the same 2 guys I met last year and they remembered me. They mean well - and prefer the hollyhock forest to the over-bred, nectar-poor, polyanthus they have to put in. I did learn that the patch we have been guerrillering is 'not on the plan' from the council's perspective, that this strip of land is probably only as deep as is visible, that there were some kind of shrubs here previously but in a very dry year they all died. However.... yesterday in the rain R and I [mainly R!] battled the elements and planted a whole load of sunflower seeds in that very patch, now mercilessly raked over. We have also had the California Poppies forcibly 'thinned out'. Allegedly the council workers come every 3 weeks; next time its on with jubilee planting of petunias so hopefully our patch wont be worked over. Our renegade colours will be such a welcome contrast whenever that jubilee thing is on.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

More Reasons to...

4 x Leucanthemum and 1 x Euphorbia underneath this lovely the garden desert at the back of Morrisons, Camberwell Green. So far so good. I also noticed that there is a diggable tree-pit right next to the Crooked Well [which is a really great restaurant and cocktail bar]. I have mentioned the idea of a tub of herbs outside their doors but they are worried that anything not nailed down will be nicked. Ergo, plant direct. 
Leucanthemum, by the way, is the Shasta Daisy. This is the basic variety. I had a large congested mass that I assumed was ancient, divided it and now have several large masses. It flowers for ages. I havent taken it down Dog Kennel Hill because I think it will need more damp. If they get going I might judiciously prune that lower underbranch of the Mag.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Spring Fever

I've been back! The Hollyhocks almost frighten even me. They are really very keen, inspite of the rust. I tidied them up a bit, mainly where they were shading other plants too much.  In another month they will be in flower! I think there are a great many Hollyhock seedlings.... [Guerrilla Gardening anyone?] Must check regularly before Southwark brings in industrial help! There is some other weed too, which could be good, could be bad, could be trees... Any ideas? The California Poppies are getting away, with a few really needing more regular watering [supposedly it will rain tomorrow]. The Euphorbia and the Lychnis are the real stars at the moment [thanks Mum!]. I added in a cluster of the infernal Crocosmias [with several more pots to go...] and some more established looking Michaelmas Daisies. 

I am hoping that everything I've planted looks more like a plant than a weed in case any Council workers do happen to lay into it. And one more photo, just so you get a sense of my dicing with death. Normally, if it was me, properly, and I was spending money and thought on aesthetic concerns there would be some dark leaves for contrast. But all the plants are dug up from either my garden or that of my parents or neighbours, and if it can hack dry neglect it goes in. Looks a bit like a caterpillar.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sow it Begins: the Nasturtium Prize for Bad Gardens

Yesterday I walked down to East Dulwich with a packet of climbing Nasturtium [technically Tropaeolum Majus] in my hand. Last year one seed covered 3msq of the most difficult patch in our garden [remains of a dead Chestnut tree]. The flowers are edible and attractive to bees. Those who neglect their gardens - and in which there is still some space and daylight! - have been awarded a Nasturtium seed. Just about managed to restrain myself from also attending to anal retentive box hedging without any flowering perennials. But up the top of the Grove there is a Chestnut stump which is pretty moist, so I inserted a seed there too. Call it an experiment in neglect. More to follow.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Pits

Well the patch will really appreciate the rain. Meanwhile, on a miserable trip to locate an ATM in order to bribe the incompetent moody goons that came to remove our broken washer/dryer and install a new one.... I noticed the tree pits at the back of Morrisons. Not the really miserable rubbish dumps in the car park, but in the little square thing near Wren St (i think). Miraculously the council planted two Magnolias there and at least one of the tree pits - the one in my line of sight when crossing through 'Butterfly Walk' [there is a Camberwell Beauty Butterfly apparently] - looks diggable and not over likely to have people walk over it. I'm thinking that some of my white daisies [Leucanthemum] and Euphorbia Robbiae would look good there...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Guerrilla Girls Fight Back

Finally did some team Guerrilla work! Well, there were 2 of us [thanks R!] attending to the 'weeding'. Up close and personal not all of my plants were demolished thanks to the Council's lazy job of just pulling the tops off plants randomly. The teasel will return. We've added in some unknown oriental poppies, some blue Geraniums [hope those make it!] another blue leaved mystery plant, a Bergenia from one of my neighbours and some California poppy seeds. The Bergenia could probably do with some decent watering given the leaves...

Southwark Rules....

Dang and Blast. Serves me right for so-so weeding. I went past the Patch last night and discovered - Look No Weeds! Alas those employed by Southwark can only recognise a handful of plants. The Euphorbias, Lychnis, Acanthus and maybe one Fennel remain [and are starting to look springy]. But the real Bee-treat plants - the teasel [Dipsacus], the hardy geraniums, the convovulus, one of the Fennels planted with a blue thistle [Echinops] have been ripped out.... Oh and the lilac Asters - such useful plants in this neglected terrain - destroyed...  And, that low growing tenacious little weed that carpeted the Patch is clearly endemic to the soil and will only arrive back. Today I'm going down there, armed with a few more plants. Dare I use the Echinops? I'm meeting a fellow GG for the first time - and she has seeds! Great seeds that will easily get away in a location like this, if only Southwark can consistently neglect it rather than periodically strip it to shreds.
I am wondering about using labels.
Photo to follow.

Friday, 24 February 2012


All the bright, lurid, low growing stuff is a delicate little weed. I don't know what it is called, it even flowers so is probably a good eco-friendly weed. But it is trying to smother any other plant life. I've pulled it out of other plants but - obviously - not laboured any further. Planting is more fun than weeding.  I have added in 3 more Euphorbia Robbiae and 2 mystery plants from a lovely neighbour. The blue foliage looks rather iris-like though I've yet to see it flower. Plenty more to go. If you feel like weeding, don't hold back!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Ends of Guerrilla Gardening

Just as I've been posting in the Southwark thread on the Community bulletin board on the main GG site, Richard goes and ditches that part of the site. Well, I guess not many people were up to speed having devolved into the amorphous squelch of facebook. Anyway, I hope Rosebud finds this site and contacts me re continuing the bee-fest planting on Dog Kennel Hill this spring. And other like minded people.

Hm. It all seems to be back in place now:

Monday, 23 January 2012

Pimping the Pavements?

I have 2 pots of mint (potted up that is... there is so much mint here I could easily pot more) and I'm looking for a Camberwell/East Dulwich pavement to pimp as they say (NB. must think of a better term). I vaguely have my eye on one in East Dulwich Grove near the Vale Practice. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

whether it is winter, or not

Last week 5 days of hard frost. This week we are back in double figures and I have seen a bee in our SE5 garden. Wondering whether to risk putting some more plants in the Dog Kennel Hill patch. The traffic flow either side of it should help... It is certainly cultivating the weeds. Yet I can't help thinking we need a bit more cold.
I did meet a fellow guerrilla working on a large patch near the carwash; daffs, herbs and sunflowers (as far as I could gather - she is not a native plantswoman so there was a lot of guesswork at work). Her top tip was salvaging the piles of plants dumped behind major DIY stores. I do however have a major supply from my parents and a neighbour so I may not be trying that out. Yet.