Saturday, 23 November 2013

Troop recruitment

For all those interested in helping out or developing your own guerrilla team. This is the main patch I have been working on, now fully recovered from the summer's drought and beautifully green, if full of weeds. The pics are from October. It runs up Dog Kennel Hill adjacent to Sainsburys in East Dulwich. In the middle of a busy road with Night Bus traffic and getting full sunshine, it is a warm patch that can protect vulnerable plants in winter but also seriously dries out and the soil quality is pretty dire. Hence the plants that the council apparently once planted here mostly died and now they only properly manage about 4 long rectangles of land with seasonal bedding (the kind of stuff that is colourful year-round but is nectar-lite and utterly pointless if you are an insect or a bird). The stuff I plant must be tough, ideally self-seeding (e.g. California Poppies) or invasive (e.g. Euphorbia) in ordinary gardens and have flowers that contain pollen. I am much more weed tolerant here - unless it is smothering other plants I let them be (things like dandelions are full of pollen anyway). I haven't planted any veg because of the quality of the soil - it would need serious improvement (bags of compost dug in), and due to the time available I have to tend it. However Giovanni (from Antennae) has given me a wonderful artichoke and I do want to try that in this patch (they always succumb to snails in my garden - but this dry patch is virtually mollusc free).
My ambition for Dog Kennel Hill is to plant the entire strip that the council neglect - about 3/5ths done! I have a whole load of plants waiting to get planted here so any help would be grand. I can supply a few extra pairs of gloves and waste bags, though I only have one trowel now (unless anyone wants to wield a spade...).

I've also started adding stuff in to the raised pits near the bus stops near Reyna restaurant in New Cross Road, so very near Goldsmiths, piggy-backing on the stupendous sunflower project run by New-Xing and Artmongers. This is necessary - I hate empty/neglected plant pits plus the bee crisis continues unabated, but it is more vulnerable to theft and damage than DKH. Hence I'm thinking thistle type plants like Echinops and teasels.

Future-wise, everytime I go past Peckham Fire Station on the 171 or 436 I look at the 5 or so concrete planters outside it that are empty! I'd love to plant stuff there - like some of the Hollyhocks that selfseed wildly on DKH. That would need some donated compost however, and probably someone with a car!

As long as the ground is not frozen or covered in snow, we can still plant...

American Graffiti

...a must-share video from this lovely man, Ron Finley, guerrilla gardening fruit and veg in South Central Los Angeles...: "gardening is my graffiti"