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On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries [Hardcover]

Richard Reynolds

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Hardcover, May 27 2008 CDN $28.87  
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Book Description

May 27 2008

When Richard Reynolds began planting flowers secretly at night outside his tower block in South London he had no idea he was part of a growing global movement committed to combating the forces of neglect, land shortage and apathy towards public spaces. But his blog GuerrillaGardening.org attracted other guerrillas from around the world to share their experiences of the horticultural front line with him and become a focal point for guerrilla gardeners everywhere. On Guerrilla Gardening is a lively colourful treatise about why people illicitly cultivate land and how to do it. From discretely beautifying corners of Montreal to striving for green communal space in Berlin and sustainable food production in San Francisco, from small gestures of fun in Zurich to bold political statements in Brazil, cultivating land beyond your boundary is a battle many different people are fighting. Unearthed along the way are the movement’s notable historic advances by seventeenth century English radicals, a nineteenth century American entrepreneur and artists in 1970s New York. Reynolds has researched the subject with guerrilla gardeners from thirty different countries and compiles their advice on what to grow, how to cope with adverse environmental conditions, how to seed bomb effectively and to use propaganda to win support.

On Guerrilla Gardening gives entertaining inspiration, practical reference and no excuses for not getting out there and gardening. 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Pub Plc USA (May 27 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596914491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596914490
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 2.2 x 19.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #636,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

With the rallying cry, "Let's fight the filth with forks and flowers," this lighthearted guide is a seriously silly romp through the adventurous pastime of gardening other people's plots. Reynolds, after five months living in a 10-story tower block in London, missed gardening and began surreptitiously cultivating the planters in front of his building, gardening in the dead of night to avoid interference. He started a blog to share his delight in illicit gardening, and discovered he was part of an international movement. Reynolds draws inspiration from pioneers of the movement: New York community gardens built on vacant lots, dispossessed Honduran Chiquita workers who appropriated abandoned banana plantation land, and Gerrard Winstanley, founder of the short-lived but influential Diggers who, in the tumultuous year of 1649, planted beans and barley on public land in Surry, England, "that every one that is born in the land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation." He borrows techniques from more infamous guerrillas such as Che Guevera and Mao Tse Tung ("the guerrilla 'must move with the fluidity of water and the ease of the blowing wind'"). Both a manifesto and a manual (tips include how to build seed bombs and deal with pests unique to the guerrilla form of gardening: authorities and landowners), the book delights with tales of exploits from the anarchic, artistic community of guerrilla gardeners.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Whatever guerilla gardeners bring to life will be eaten and shared by someone or some animal. And that will further light the green fuse, as will getting a copy of this book. Better yet, read it and become one of the growing guerilla army."—Alan Bisport, Hartford Advocate

"In tracing the history of the guerrilla gardening movement, be it for beautification or to grow food, Reynolds’ voice is ardent as he writes about Johnny Appleseed and the Digger colonies that provided sustenance in fifteenthcentury England. Reynolds is most assured when advising readers on choosing specimens for planting their own guerrilla gardens and when expressing love for gardening."— Booklist



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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars bored Aug. 22 2009
By kirlena walsh - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book full of anticipation of a great read. It seemed to start with promise, outlining what guerrilla gardening was and giving us some interesting history. I greatly enjoyed (and still enjoy) the author's initial expression of his obvious love of plants and beautifying our over-concretised cities.
I expected the book to continue in this vein, full of wonderful stories that expressed that delight: perhaps a little like In Search of Old Roses by Thomas Christopher.
The early insistence that the gardening be illegitimate to fit into the definition I found to be quite acceptable; it is the author's right to define his terms. However, this neat definition gradually ceded to a very immature love of the clandestine and illegal, and any sense I had that the book was about a love of gardens and plants yielded to the notion that this person was besotted by illegality, and that plants were just the vehicle of his expression. He seemed to grow increasingly childish in his glee as the pages progressed. Somewhere over half way I grew very bored. The book had turned into a simplistic manual on how to garden, with outré delight in the illicit. I normally keep books I have read. I am selling this one.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book June 15 2008
By Ava Torre-Bueno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
On Guerrilla Gardening is a delightful little book! The author mixes history, politics, environmentalism and practical gardening into an enjoyable weekend read.
Guerrilla gardening can be a strong political statement about the waste of good land and the potential for abundance even when we're faced with a "food crisis," or it can just be something you do for fun.
My only concern is the "waging battle" metaphor that sprouts throughout the book; I wish even as we guerrilla garden, that we could make our speech more nurturing. It's only a little quibble though.
If you've ever been saddened by an abandoned tree well near your bus stop or your office, this book will give you the gumption to go out there and turn it into a lovely little garden!
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scattering of color photography enhances this eyebrow-raising gardening guide June 9 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries is a different kind of gardening book, describing how to use the power of gardening to beautify land one does not own - a technically illegal practice! And so those who engage in it apply tactics of Mao Tse-tung and Che Guevara to the (mostly) nonviolent acts of gardening. Cultivating plants has the potential to be an act of political defiance, yet it is a defiance meant to spread colorful blooms, fragrant smells, and happiness among neighbors rather than bloodshed or pain. Chapters cover the history of guerrilla gardening, the necessary tools, recommended courses of action (including positive propaganda tactics) and much more. A scattering of color photography enhances this eyebrow-raising gardening guide.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guerrilla Gardening inspiration July 7 2008
By K. Rudnicki - Published on Amazon.com
I thought this book was great. After finishing reading the book I found a group in my area that was doing guerrilla gardening. I feel a lot better about living in LA now that I'm participating with the group. You can see what the book inspired at [...]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not at all what I'd hoped it would be April 12 2011
By ClassicMoviePalace - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When I ordered this book, I knew it was written by the individual who created guerrillagardening.org so I'd hoped it would be chuck full of his experiences as a guerrilla gardener. It seemed that he was much more interested in be-laboring the "guerrilla fighter" metaphor which I felt was perhaps deserving of a paragraph or two, not several chapters. I was hoping it would be more of a how to for those of us who are starting out.

Thoroughly disappointed.

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