Weekend Warriors

As I mentioned, I'm a bit off-schedule at the moment. I'm trying to play catch-up, but so much has happened in the past few weeks! I'm going to start with the most recent happening: guerrilla gardening, caught on tape!

Theresa is the organizer of D.C. Guerilla Gardeners. (If you notice, I use two Rs in "guerrilla," and Theresa uses only one. Both are fine. Merriam-Webster Unabridged claims the two Rs as the common spelling and one R as the variant--I didn't really use that metric, however, for determining how I'd spell it. I followed GuerrillaGardening.org's lead as the kind of Internet nut from which the tree of stealth gardening germinated.) Theresa chose the location for our first attack. She has walked by it for years (as have I), and it has been pretty much empty the entire time, although it does get frequently mulched. So, whatever plans the city had for these plots, too little too late! We're taking over, now.

It was a nice morning (freezing and windy), I got on TV, and I got dirty! A very good day.

Here are our supplies. Theresa got compost, mulch, snacks, drinks, water from her rain barrel, and a lot of native plants from a local native-plant nursery that I don't remember the name of at the moment.

We had Little Bluestem grass. I'm most excited about that--it's a beautiful native grass! I'm growing some in my living room at the moment, but I don't plan on keeping it there indefinitely, just until it gets big enough to pot up and place outside.

There was also some yellow Coreopsis, Black-Eyed Susan (my home-state's state flower!), Penstemon, Echinacea purpurea, Asclepias tuberosa, Aster, and... I don't really fully recall. Lots of heat/drought-tolerant native-ish plants.

Here's one spot, under a maple tree. Good thing the plants we chose are better than some others with a lack of water! The maple will get most of it, I'd imagine. I used my hoe to dig a little and feel the soil--it was actually really good! I worried about messing up the maple's root system digging all the holes, but I didn't remember to say anything until after most of the holes were dug. We'll have to monitor the tree's health over the years to see if we did any damage to it.

Post-planting! We amended the holes we dug with some compost and then sprinkled some on top around the plants for good measure.

Plot two of three. I don't have a shot of the entire works, unfortunately, but this one is more visible from the intersections. It's also my favourite, because I had more of a hand in helping design the planting. The plan was mostly "Alright, let's put stuff in the ground," but I and another Master Gardener trainee were considering plant heights, colour, and visual design. We used the Little Bluestem as the core of our design, having a large clump toward the top part in the picture, with sattelite plants along the curve as a backdrop for the Black-Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, Aster, and whatever else we have in there. Just a random note: There's a rotting tree stump in the middle of this planter--it had clearly been there for many years.

Here's the finished product. At the end of the planting, I sprinkled a lot of Zinnia seeds everywhere. Just for good measure.

You can almost see in the background another plot across the street. We hadn't initially planned on planting that, because we only had about 45 plants, but when we spaced them out, giving them plenty of room to grow in, we realized we had a whole heck of a lot of plants! I didn't take pictures, but we kind of swooped the plants around the corner of the plot, so passing cars would have a pleasant view of a layering of shorter plants in front of taller ones. The flowers will mostly be yellow and purple, so we alternated the colours when we planted them.

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7 Responses to Weekend Warriors

  1. Kenneth, YOU ROCK! Just plain awesome! I have "guerrilla gardened" a few times myself, but it must be fun having a group of people to do it with!

  2. Love it! I need to do something like this!!

  3. I saw it on the local news, and will put a link on my blog now that I know there is a web presence. Where do the funds for plants come from? (donations?)

  4. So now that you've been discovered and are totally TV famous, what does the future have in store?

  5. Wow.

    I love this. Congrats on you taking urban beautification into your own hands.

  6. That's cool - I wish I had a group of people to do this with, and the nerves to do it in broad daylight, too.

  7. Thanks for the all the comments and support of subversive activity, peeps!

    Aerelonian, I am not going to Disney World, but I might just garden another corner. :P (Actually, I have this interview with an AFP reporter at some point... We've already rescheduled a few times. Let's see.)

    Swimray, I think Theresa bought the supplies and the plants were donated (or she bought them?). I'm not certain of the details, but the plants will be coming from donations or cash out of Guerrilla Gardener pockets. Getting grants or organizations to fund this just screams liability issues. :P


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