Guerrilla Gardening in New York.
"Using cartloads of horse manure from Central Park - plus healthy additions of his own carefully composted 'nightsoil' (i.e. his shit) - (Purple) transformed the barren rubble into fertile soil to nourish the Chinese Empress trees, black raspberry seedlings, herbs and vegetables that he and his fellow hippie horticulturalists planted there. More than a garden, it was an ecological earthwork, starting at the centre of a double yin-yang symbol and moving outward in concentric rings of flowers and fruit trees.....'The city was doing nothing with the land, they were abusing it' he explained....'It's the people's turf. I made that garden for everybody'. George McKay Radical Gardening 2011, p. 169.
Guerrilla Gardening in Serpentine, Western Australia.
Our equivalent of Guerrilla Gardening to Adam Purple's in New York, was done by the students of Serpentine Primary School in 1994. The major difference is that ours is still growing 21 years later, poor Adam and his friends had to see theirs demolished after just 11 years.
In 1994 the Internet and GPS mapping was unheard of. The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, which covers a large area of mainly rural land, had little or no idea, of the exact number of areas of reserves and parkland were in the Shire. This local Shire authority showed little interest in such places as this old sand pit. It is sad that a miner was previously permitted to clear what would have been beautiful bushland and then walk away leaving an unpleasant looking landscape.
The 220 students from the Serpentine Primary School assisted by their teachers, volunteers from the Serpentine Bushland Group, the Serpentine Jarrahdale Landcare District Committee and ALCOA (who provided the seed) were able to completely change this barren landscape. For many years now it has not been possible to see that it was ever a barren sand pit. It has become a special area for people, birds and animals to enjoy. I hope that with the threat of increasing development in Serpentine this area will never be cleared for housing. To quote Adam Purple who said that his garden should always be 'the people's turf". Our old sand pit should always be the people's turf too.
In 1996 the students did pit trapping in the sand pit which had native flora above 1 metre high as a result of their seed broadcasting in 1994. There had also been some additional seedling planting to try and increase the species bio-diversity in the sand pit.
If you are interested in the Serpentine Primary School I recommend you visit www.serpentineps.wa.edu.au.
For an excellent example of modern day Guerrilla Gardening visit www.landcaresj.com.au and open up the 'Planting Day at Alexander Road, Byford'.