Upcycling Meets Guerrilla Gardening

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Three years ago, I picked up a copy of the Troublemaker's Teaparty on urban activism and discovered covert ways to beautify our urban surroundings. I live close to some abandoned factories, and people love to come here to work on their cars, spray paint graffiti and sell drugs. In this book, I learned that by creating a presence, through keeping the area clean and planting flowers, you could keep undesirables out of your neighbourhood. I figured it was worth a try.

The next year, while on maternity leave, I did some guerrilla gardening, which involved gardening on private property. This was a lot more work than I had anticipated, and I had to contend with theft, vandalism and a coup organized by a nearby condo-dweller who subsequently took over my plot, as she wasn't thrilled with my choice of flowers.

I also discovered that a gardenless condo dweller could create "seedbombs," which are thrown into empty or abandoned lots. If all goes well, you will see a spray of flowers instead of the broken remnants from last night's party. I briefly toyed with the idea of creating seedbombs and selling them for $0.25 each, but I thought it would be dishonest to sell something that I hadn't actually tried and tested for results.

If you've made seedbombs that actually took root, please send us the recipe. Officially planting day in these parts is the third week in May.

To date, we have tried two seedbomb recipes. The first one simply involved combining wet clay and seeds. The second, the Liz Christy seedbomb was much more elaborate. Liz Christy was the original urban gardener. Her seedbomb involved filling balloons or Christmas ornaments (?!) with water, adding bits of paper towel, peat moss, soil and seeds. Anyway, last year, my kids and I tried her recipe.These bombs were a lot more fun to throw than those from the previous year, but were much messier to make.

Alas, neither recipe yielded any blooms, but the birds and squirrels will be forever grateful.

A pair from California has, however, cultivated the idea of commercializing seedbombs. Their Los Angeles company, Greenaid, has taken old gumball machines and used them as seedbomb dispensers. For $0.25, the buyers get two seedbombs and a small map showing them the best place to throw their ammo for optimal results. You can purchase the gumball dispensers from the company, and Greenaid will help you come up with a seed mix that will work in your area.

Maybe that's where we went wrong--the seed mix.

Other Seedbomb and Guerrilla Gardening Related Posts:

Delinelle Park and Garden: Adjectival Transgression
 The Fate of the Delinelle Community Garden and Park
More on Guerrilla-ing in NYC and St. Henri
Trespassers in St. Henri Win City Gardening Contest
Liz Christy Seed Bombs and Some Not So Covert Bombing
More on Guerrilla-ing in NYC and St. Henri
Attention Guerrilla Gardeners: the Liz Christy Seed Bomb (a how-to)
What Exactly is Guerrilla Gardening?
Guerrilla Gardening: Tips for the Novice


Sainte-Nance | May 7, 2010 at 10:49 PM

Woah ! Je croyais qu'elles explosaient littéralement quand on les lançait afin de répandre les graines ! Enfin, le vidéo ne montre pas la suite... est-ce que cela marche vraiment ? J'ai déjà essayé de jeter des graines de fleurs sauvages dans mon carré de terrain montréalais et jamais rien n'y est poussé... Une fois, je me suis extasiée devant une zone de pelouse transformée en champs de fleurs sauvages (avec de belles fleurs de pavot rouge vif). Le propriétaire m'a donné son secret : un peu de défoliant pour tuer le gazon, de la terre noire, une grosse canne de graines prémélangées de chez C*nadian T*re et de l'arrosage régulier... bref, bien des soins !
Mais à voir mon origan bio faire des repousses entre les dalles du patio, je pourrais t'en refiler !

Heather | May 8, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Je doute que ça marche. Premièrement, les graines dites natives de notre région sont aussi les préférées des oiseaux et des écureuils. Deuxièmement, si elles ne sont pas natives, il faut arroser régulièrement. Cependant, j'ai posé la question via Facebook et ma cousine a répondu. Elle et ses copines ont fait une mélange avec miracle potting soil qu'on trouve chez Canadian Tire et des graines de pavot californien et leurs bombes apparemment ont poussé à merveille.

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