Thursday, 28 May 2009

In which I shall not mention that guerrillas sounds an awful lot like gorillas

Last year we had plans for a guerilla garden on a roadside verge. Most of the plants died in the great blackfly attack of 2008 and we didn't have anything left to garden with. Then we moved away from that patch.

We've been scouting out a new one for a while now. And it think we found the perfect spot. Torquay is littered with disused water fountains and although I'd rather they where still used to provide a free drink most off them just end up being... littered.

Through the years most of them have been topped up with concrete but this one is special. Judging from the state of it it looks like the leaves from the tree above fell in and created soil. Or perhaps someone dumped a load in at one point. Either way it has worms and soil but not much growing.

Enter Stephen and Clare. We popped down with a tape measure, a compass, a camera and a note pad. We made a diagram of the area and noted how much light it got. Discussing it over cake we decided we wanted to go for natives and shade tolerant plants.

We decided on red campion, primrose and wood sorrel. The campion will hopefully grow tall, the sorrel will hopefully grow and cover the soil a bit more and the primrose will do... whatever primroses do.

While we were waiting for Royal Mail to deliver our plants we popped down to clear the area. I would have lived to have got rid of that brick and swept away the leaves but the brick was heavy or I'm weak. Either way it's still there.

We decided to get rid of the weeds by cutting out a piece of cardboard to the shape of the fountain and cover it with compost. Then we placed a little sign (which has since been nicked) to say who we are and what the garden is for.

Today the exciting bit happened. Our plants arrived. After rush hour we went to the garden with our tools, water and the baby plants. I positioned them gracefully and artistically. Stephen, ever the mathematician, insisted on symmetry.

We dug through the top layer of compost and the card. This disturbed more worms than I'd ever seen in such a small place. It really was an encouraging happy sight. Especially for balcony gardeners like us.

We put the plants in without much fuss, only a supportive shout from the other side of the road, and called it a day. I admit that they don't look too impressive yet but plants grow and gardens look better with time and love. We'll give it plenty of both.

Edit: To find our garden.... We're on the corner of Falkland Rd and the Kings Drive. If you come out of Torre Abbey by the main gate look left and you will see us.

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