London | Guerrilla Gardener
Guerrilla gardener Richard Reynolds is helping urban dwellers rediscover nature on their city’s streets.
There are very few activities – at least, ones that are socially acceptable – in which the practitioners will spend their evenings hanging around on dingy street corners. But it’s something 32-year-old Richard Reynolds would like to see more people doing. When venturing out from his base in a tenth floor flat in London’s Elephant and Castle, Reynolds always keeps an eye out for unloved patches of land. Where others see blight, he sees opportunity. As a guerrilla gardener, and self-declared tender of unloved public spaces, any scrap of bare earth speaks of possibility.
Reynolds first donned his gardening gloves for a guerrilla action in 2003. Exasperated by the state of the municipal flowerbeds around his block, and with no space for his own window box, he crept out late at night with a few plants he’d picked up from the garden centre, surreptitiously put them in the soil, and beat a hasty retreat. Having grown up in rural Devon, the outdoors was in his blood: “I’ve gardened since I was a kid. My parents had a big garden, we lived in the country, it was just something we did.” And for all that urban living offered, something was missing. “I was a frustrated gardener,” Reynolds explains.
Published on Jun 25, 2010