September 20, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

What the hell is ‘guerrilla gardening’? Although the term was first coined in New York in the seventies, ‘guerrilla gardeners’ have actually been active in the UK since the 17th century. Put simply, ‘guerrilla gardeners’ are people who garden other people’s land without permission. The motivations for doing this can be diverse: the ‘guerrillas’ may simply be gardening to improve the aesthetic qualities of land neglected by its legal owner, or it may be politically motivated. Either way, ‘guerrilla gardening’ is usually kept top secret and is often carried out under the cover of darkness. Back in 2004, Richard Reynolds from London set up a blog detailing his ‘guerilla gardening’ activities. Initially, he was just a frustrated gardener who decided to spruce up a neglected council block in Southwark. But his exploits have now inspired ‘guerrilla gardening’ activists all over the globe. In 2008 he published a book about ‘guerrilla gardening’, which details the activities of ‘cells’ in thirty different countries.

No, that would be ‘Gorilla Gardening’  (by Magdalena Paczkowski)


Feel inspired? New York’s ‘Green Guerillas’ used to use simple ‘seed grenades’ to help them do their illicit gardening activities back in the seventies. You can make your own ‘seed grenade’ by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Get one of the condoms still in your drawer from Fresher’s Fair (be honest)

Step 2: Fill the condom with wildflower seeds, water and fertiliser (no, not that sort)

Step 3: Toss the condom over a fence onto neglected land

WARNING: Do not reuse these condoms for sexual purposes – this may lead to genital ragworts




Guerilla gardeners currently have their work on display in the windows of Selfridge’s stores on Oxford Street and Orchard Street, so you can go along a take a look for yourself. These displays will be featured as part of Selfridge’s ‘Five Big Wonder Windows’ until late April. During this time, you can also buy a a range of ‘guerilla gardening equipment’, including ‘seedboms‘. Unlike condoms, ‘seedboms’ are biodegradable, and are therefore much better choice for your first foray into ‘guerilla gardening’ than the ‘seed grenades’ described above.


You can check out Richard Reynolds’ ‘guerilla gardening’ blog at

Here, you can find out about lots of exciting events, including the upcoming ‘International Sunflower Guerilla Gardening Day 2011’ on Sunday, 1st May.


Also, if you’re interested by urban ecology, you can read more here: