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On Guerrilla Gardening Paperback – Jun 23 2009
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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
'Reynolds is quickly becoming both a subculture celebrity and a public intellectual, challenging ideas about what it means to live in a city' New York Times 'Probably the most unusual garden book of 2008, On Guerrilla Gardening is well-researched, thorough and truly inspirational' BBC Gardens Illustrated 'This lovely book is both a celebration of the international movement's recent history, and a how-to manual that advises on hardy species, planting techniques and social engineering' Guardian 'Exciting, high-adrenalin stuff. This is gardening repackaged for the 21st century' New StatesmanSee all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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!