The snap at the bottom is of a rather overgrown planter on Wilson Street which I intend to tidy up and replant, anyone who wishes to join me will be more than welcome. I've been having a whale of time turning my own rundown patch of dirt into something attractive to look at and am looking to spread the joy.
The snap at the top shows the state of my patch before I staged my horticultural coup and the middle snap is how it looks at present only seven weeks later. Whilst I have had a few setbacks the vast majority of people have made an effort to keep the area clean and put their rubbish in the bin.
The point I'm ambling towards is that this stuff is enormously empowering. Rather than whine about what other people or the council should be doing you can make amazing changes on your own. I have contacted the council three times regarding the state of our bin area and they've done sod all. Had I not taken responsibility for it, things would still be as bad as they ever were. Maybe worse now that a nest of rats has appeared round the corner. I know it's not a fashionable opinion but I've taken something of a shine to the baby rats. Honestly they're really quite sweet from a distance.
If an area seems well cared for most though by no means all people will respect it and moderate their behaviour accordingly. It really is up to you whether or not you live in a shithole or not. Grumbling about council tax and refusing to pick up litter you didn't drop is a waste of time. There is a lot of debate about what the role of the state should be, a lot of complaining about the nanny state but maybe if we didn't persist in believing payment of tax and council tax absolved us of all responsibility they might stop sticking their beaks into matters that don't concern them. You can't very well behave like a child and complain when you're treated like one.
Since I took up guerrilla gardening I'm no longer bothered about not having a garden. Why should I be given that I now how a whole district to garden? If anything I've got too much garden for the time and resources available to me. You don't have to stick to flowers. On my patch at present I'm growing cress, beetroot, radishes, carrots, salad onions, mint and sage. Nothing like what I'd need to be self sufficient but almost enough to ensure that I need never buy one of those horrid plastic coffins of overpriced herbs from the supermarket again. Once I get the dill, chives, parsley, mace and coriander going Tesco will be another sucker down. My sage and mint plants both cost less than one coffin of herbs and provide me with more herbs than I can possibly use. I'm not opposed to the existence of supermarkets and acknowledge that they do provide some foods cheaply but they really do take the piss with herbs and spices as anyone who shops in Asian grocers will know. Sow a few herbs or something easy like radishes on a bit of land on your way home from work and you can have freshly picked veg for tea for virtually no effort.
This doesn't need to be expensive at all. B&Q do seeds from 39p a packet, Poundland to a fine set of gardening gloves for a pound, people with gardens usually have cuttings to spare and tools to borrow, gardening magazines seem to exist to give plants away for the cost of postage and do loads of special offers. Even setting yourself the budget of a fiver would make a huge difference to an abandoned strip of land somewhere. Buy a cheap set of gardening tools from a pound shop or supermarket, blow the remainder on cheap seeds and get sowing. Tell everyone what you're up to and wait for the cuttings to flood in. Join the Guerrilla Gardening forum and keep your eyes peeled for the frequent offers of freebies and seed swaps.
Should any of you in the Glasgow area fancy a go at a spot of guerilla gardening I am involved in something rather exciting later this month and would appreciate a bit of help if anyone wants to give it a go. You don't have to be an experienced or knowledgeable gardener at all and the old gardening lark is a hell of a lot easier than some folk like to make it seem. If you're busy this month I've got loads of stuff I want to get started and would be delighted with any help anyone might want to offer from coming out and getting their gloves dirty to donations of seeds, cuttings and unwanted tools. Please feel free to email me if you'd like to help.