Guerrilla Gardening as a Hobby: The Garden Gangster

Guerrilla gardening as a hobby is an exciting way to beautify public spaces and bring nature back to urban areas.

By planting flowers and vegetables in neglected areas, you can create a sense of community and inspire others to take action.

It’s a fun and rewarding activity that can make a real difference in your neighborhood.

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What is Guerrilla Gardening?

Guerrilla gardening is a form of gardening that involves growing plants in neglected public or private spaces without permission.

This practice is often done to beautify urban areas, promote community gardening, and increase greenery in public spaces. It can also involve planting edible crops or drought-tolerant plants that can thrive in neglected areas.

Guerrilla gardening can take many forms, from planting traditional garden plots to “seed bombing” vacant lots with native plants or other beneficial species. This practice is often done by hobby gardeners who want to make a positive impact on their community and environment.

One of the goals of guerrilla gardening is to beautify neglected public spaces and turn them into lush, green oases that are attractive to both people and wildlife. By planting native species and avoiding invasive plants, guerrilla gardeners can also help protect local ecosystems and improve biodiversity.

Community gardens and public spaces are also important aspects of guerrilla gardening. By bringing people together to work on a shared gardening project, community gardens can foster a sense of community and promote healthy eating habits.

Public spaces, such as parks and greenways, can also benefit from guerrilla gardening efforts by providing more green space for people to enjoy.

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The History of Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla gardening has a long and rich history that dates back centuries. It is a form of activism that involves growing plants on land without the owner’s permission.

Guerrilla gardeners often exploit a gray area in the law and carry a certain level of risk. In this section, you will learn about the history of guerrilla gardening and some of the notable figures who have contributed to its development.

One of the earliest examples of guerrilla gardening dates back to the 17th century, when Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers began cultivating land that had been seized by wealthy landowners.

They believed that the land should be shared by all and not owned by a privileged few. They planted vegetables and fruit trees on the land and encouraged others to do the same.

In the 19th century, Johnny Appleseed, also known as John Chapman, traveled across the United States planting apple trees. He believed that everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food and that planting trees was a way to achieve this goal.

In the 20th century, Liz Christy and the Green Guerrillas began planting flowers and vegetables in abandoned lots in New York City. Their efforts helped to beautify the city and provide fresh produce to residents who lacked access to healthy food.

Ron Finley, also known as the “Gangsta Gardener,” is a modern-day guerrilla gardener who has gained international recognition for his efforts to transform urban landscapes.

He began planting fruits and vegetables in the parkway in front of his home in South Central Los Angeles, and his efforts have since spread to other cities around the world.

Richard Reynolds, a British artist, founded the Guerrilla Gardening movement in 2004. He encourages people to take back public spaces and turn them into beautiful gardens. His efforts have inspired thousands of people around the world to take up the cause of guerrilla gardening.

Why People Guerrilla Garden

Guerrilla gardening is an unconventional way of gardening that involves gardening on unused or neglected land without seeking permission from the owner.

While it may seem like a rebellious act, people have different reasons for guerrilla gardening. Here are some of the reasons why you might consider taking up guerrilla gardening as a hobby.

Beautify Neglected Areas

One of the primary reasons people guerrilla garden is to beautify neglected areas.

By planting flowers, vegetables, or native plants on vacant lots, tree pits, or other neglected areas, you can transform them into beautiful and vibrant spaces for the community to enjoy.

Guerrilla gardening can help to improve the aesthetics of your local community, making it a more pleasant place to live, work, and play.

Grow Your Own Food

Another reason people guerrilla garden is to grow their own food. Guerrilla gardening allows you to plant edible plants and vegetables in public spaces, such as parks, sidewalks, and abandoned lots, where you can harvest fresh produce for yourself and your community.

By planting fruits and vegetables in food deserts, you can help to address the problem of food insecurity in your local community.

Support Local Ecosystems

Guerrilla gardening can also help to support local ecosystems by planting native plants and flowers that attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. By creating habitats for pollinators, you can help to improve the health and wellbeing of your local ecosystem.

Make a Statement

Guerrilla gardening can be a form of direct action that makes a statement about the importance of public space and the right to grow your own food. By planting in public spaces without permission, you are challenging the status quo and advocating for a more self-sufficient and sustainable future.


Guerrilla gardening can also be a form of forgiveness. By planting in neglected areas, you are forgiving the land for being neglected and giving it new life. Guerrilla gardening can be a way to heal the land and the community by bringing people together to create something fresh and healthy.

Guerrilla gardening can be a fun and rewarding hobby that allows you to make a positive impact on your local community and the environment.

Whether you’re looking to beautify neglected areas, grow your own food, or support local ecosystems, guerrilla gardening offers a unique way to connect with nature and your local community.

How to Start Guerrilla Gardening as a Hobby

Guerrilla gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby that allows you to beautify your community while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Get Permission

Before you start guerrilla gardening, it’s important to make sure you have permission to plant on public or private land.

While some cities have laws that allow for guerrilla gardening, others do not. Check with your local government to find out what the rules are in your area.

2. Choose Your Plants

When choosing plants for your guerrilla garden, consider what will grow well in your area and what will look good in the space you have chosen.

Vegetables such as tomatoes, chives, and herbs like basil and mint are great options for guerrilla gardens. You can also plant shrubs, fruits, sunflowers, wildflowers, and orange trees.

3. Prepare Your Soil

If you’re planting in a public space, you may need to use compost or other soil amendments to improve the soil quality.

You can make your own compost using kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials. Seed bombs are also a great way to plant in areas with poor soil quality.

4. Volunteer at Community Gardens

Volunteering at a community garden is a great way to learn more about gardening and meet other like-minded individuals. Many community gardens have programs where you can take home plants or seeds to start your own guerrilla garden.

5. Choose Your Location

When choosing a location for your guerrilla garden, look for public spaces that could use some extra love and attention. Be sure to avoid areas where your plants could be trampled or removed by authorities.

6. Plant Your Garden

Once you have your plants and location chosen, it’s time to start planting. Be sure to follow planting instructions for each type of plant, and water your garden regularly. Consider using markers or signs to let others know that your garden is a guerrilla garden and not to be removed.

Guerrilla gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby that can help bring beauty and life to neglected public spaces. By following these tips, you can start your own guerrilla garden and make a positive impact on your community.

The Risks of Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla gardening is a fun and fulfilling hobby, but it comes with its risks. Here are some of the potential risks you should be aware of before you start your own guerrilla garden:

Guerrilla gardening is often done on land without the owner’s permission, which makes it illegal in many areas. If caught, you could face fines or even legal charges. Before starting your own guerrilla garden, it’s important to research the laws in your area and make sure you’re not breaking any rules.


If you’re caught guerrilla gardening on public property, you could face fines for damaging public property or for littering. It’s important to be aware of these potential fines and to take steps to minimize your impact on public property.

Personal Safety

Guerrilla gardening can also pose some personal safety risks. You may be working in areas that are not well-lit or that are isolated, which could make you vulnerable to crime.

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to take steps to protect yourself while you’re guerrilla gardening.

Environmental Risks

Guerrilla gardening can also have environmental risks. If you’re using chemicals or fertilizers, you could be damaging the environment and harming local wildlife. It’s important to use environmentally-friendly products and to be aware of the impact your gardening is having on the local ecosystem.

Famous Guerrilla Gardening Projects

Guerrilla gardening has been gaining popularity as a hobby and a form of protest. Here are some of the most famous guerrilla gardening projects that have made an impact in different parts of the world.

Green Guerrilla

The Green Guerrilla group was founded in 1973 in New York City by Liz Christy. The group started by planting flowers in vacant lots and abandoned spaces in the city.

The group’s efforts eventually led to the creation of community gardens in the city. The Green Guerrilla group is credited with starting the guerrilla gardening movement.

South Central Los Angeles

In the 1990s, South Central Los Angeles was known for its high crime rates and lack of green spaces. Ron Finley, a fashion designer turned gardener, started a movement to transform the area by planting vegetable gardens on the curbside.

The movement gained attention and support, and the city eventually changed its laws to allow for more urban gardening.

International Sunflower Guerrilla Day

The International Sunflower Guerrilla Day is celebrated on May 1st every year. The day was started by guerrilla gardeners in Brussels, Belgium, in 2001.

The day is dedicated to planting sunflower seeds in public spaces as a form of protest and beautification. The movement has spread to different parts of the world, including the United States.

Incredible Edible Todmorden

Incredible Edible Todmorden is a guerrilla gardening project started in 2008 in Todmorden, England. The project encourages residents to plant vegetables and fruits in public spaces.

The project has transformed the town into a food-producing community, and the produce is free for anyone to take.

Graffiti Gardening

Graffiti gardening is a form of guerrilla gardening that involves planting flowers and plants in abandoned spaces that have been tagged with graffiti.

The movement started in Los Angeles in the 1990s and has since spread to different parts of the world. The movement aims to beautify urban spaces and promote community involvement.

Guerrilla gardening is a fun and creative way to make a positive impact on your community. Whether you’re planting sunflowers on International Sunflower Guerrilla Day or transforming an abandoned lot into a community garden, guerrilla gardening is a hobby that can make a difference.

To learn more about guerrilla gardening, check out some of the resources below:

The Guerrilla Gardening HomepageA comprehensive guide to guerrilla gardening, including tips, resources, and success stories from around the world.
Seed BombsA fun and easy way to spread seeds in hard-to-reach areas, such as alleyways and abandoned lots.
The Edible Bus StopAn inspiring example of how guerrilla gardening can transform a neglected urban space into a thriving community garden.
The Guerrilla Gardener’s HandbookA classic guide to guerrilla gardening, written by the founder of the Green Guerrilla movement.
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