4 March 2009


I have a need to garden at the moment. On the weekend, a great lady called Mel and I walked up and down the flower market in Amsterdam and were inspired to take our first step towards guerrilla gardening. This has been quite a thing amongst trendy post-hippies in the UK for a while now, and fits into a kind of re-claimed ye-olde-crafte-integrated-to-the-nasty-city sub-culture that also spawned knitting bombs and such.

So our attempt started local, in fact the miroscopic strips of dirt right next to my front door. For you lucky house-dwelling aussies, my front door is actually a security door to a block of 8 flats that extends right to the property boundary in a particularly urban part of the densest city in the world. It's like: door. street. No gaps.

Anyway, spring must be approaching as it is now well above zero in the daytime, and the chairs are back in our plein, goodbye icerink. At the flower market Mel got a lemon tree, and I picked up about $6 euros worth of overcrowded daffodils and blue hyacinths (i think). We popped outside to the street in the gloaming and plonked them all in, nearly 2 doz individual plants, in clumps just right where I suspect plenty of men have relieved themselves in the small hours after leaving the nightclub across the street and getting on their bike. Oh well, a bit of extra nitrogen never hurt, right. It's the tiniest addition of plant life, to a tiny strip with just a few scrubby plants, and it took about 10 minutes, but it was a good feeling!

We've both got a taste for it now, and I think I'll move down the end of my street to a long, blank wall, and perhaps do a mix of bulbs and pretty creeprs, and maybe some rosemary for the locals to pick. One thing in this country that is cheap: flowers and bulbs. Mel wants to do the area around the new trees in her street that are currently surrounded by sand, and hence, dog shit. She's even talking about adding soil first, now that's advanced.

Only thing is, it's not particularly guerrilla round here, as loads of Amsterdammers pretty up their front steps onto the street, with as much as they can cram into a space about 30 cm square, including pots and planters. I can't imagine really anyone batting an eyelid, but anyway, nice to add to the riot of colour that is spring and perhaps some tulip bulbs that will continue to pop up and self-propagate long after I've left the area. Hm, maybe a packet of sunflower seeds. I don't like to spend loads on cultivating plants for my own balcony, as they will eventually have to go.. but can easily imagine going berko in the public spaces, radiating out from my front door.


meririsa said...

I saw a garden bed get set up on the next street over the other week. And we have a few common herb pots in our building's courtyard! Flowers are creeping into most little cut out squares of contrete around the suburb - it's nice isn't it? (even if it makes some footpaths too narrow to push prams along!).

BSharp said...

haha - you can barely get a pram round most amsterdam canals anyway - gotta stick em in a bike seat on the handle bars!

Max Volume said...


I am enamoured of this website doing things in a very similar vein, viva la quiet revolution