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On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening without Boundaries [Paperback]

Richard Reynolds
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 May 2009
On Guerrilla Gardening is an activist's call to arms to all citizens - green-fingered, green-thinking or curious - to join the revolution of guerrilla gardening: transforming public space into oases of colour and life. The enemy: neglect, apathy and the disintegration of community spirit. The arsenal: daring, a packet of seeds and a passionate commitment to social change. When Richard Reynolds first embarked on guerrilla gardening, growing flowers by moonlight outside his tower block, he had no idea it was part of a growing global movement committed to cultivating the potential in the land regardless of all obstacles. Charting the battles fought across thirty different countries and the revolutionary history of this subculture, On Guerrilla Gardening is an inspirational take on gardening in the 21st century.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (4 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747592977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747592976
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Reynolds is quickly becoming both a subculture celebrity and a public intellectual, challenging ideas about what it means to live in a city' New York Times 'Probably the most unusual garden book of 2008, On Guerrilla Gardening is well-researched, thorough and truly inspirational' BBC Gardens Illustrated 'This lovely book is both a celebration of the international movement's recent history, and a how-to manual that advises on hardy species, planting techniques and social engineering' Guardian 'Exciting, high-adrenalin stuff. This is gardening repackaged for the 21st century' New Statesman

About the Author

Richard Reynolds' first illegal cultivation was at college, where he planted windowsills with boxes of Busy Lizzies. He became a guerrilla gardener in earnest in 2004 when he moved into a council block with dilapidated communal flowerbeds in London's Elephant & Castle.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring.. 9 May 2008
I love this book.. It is a great read, inspiring stories of Richards experiences, as well as the experiences of the many other Guerrilla Gardeners there are around the world. I have also found the tips very interesting, as although this is something that I have taken part in, the concept of doing it on my own has always been a bit daunting. Hopefully with the help of this book I shall be out on my own soon!

This book is a wonderful insight into what drives people to undertake Guerilla gardening, the history of the concept and what is possible.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On guerilla's AND gardening 10 May 2008
Richard Reynolds has produced a delightful handbook for and about committed gardeners around the world who `fight filth with flowers' to transform `orphaned' public land into community space. It is a beautifully conceived book and it is no surprise it took two years to draw together the wonderfully humorous yet deadly serious stories of those around the world who have taken up the mantle of guerrilla gardening. The book derives tools for this trade from more easily recognisable guerrillas such as Che Guevara and Mao. Though not condoning any particular politics, Reynolds uses the examples of history to tease out what tools have been used and are open to those guerrilla gardeners fighting their own `little wars' against misused land around the world. The book is spiced up with stories of the many guerrilla gardeners he has encountered and are engaging, humorous, fascinating and inspiring. They are not big stories in themselves, but rather it is the collective efforts of the many that creates the dramatic effect, and ultimately political movement, that is now termed guerrilla gardening.

The book is more than just a documentation of what has already gone on, it is in itself a productive force that will no doubt alter the landscape by its publication. It is a book that will help to legitimate the democratisation of land at a much more local and individual scale than is true of most of the famous political `guerrillas' he draws insight from.

This is much more than a book about guerrilla gardening and will be of interest to geographers, political scientists, and students of planning and landscape. It is a treatise on the use and misuse of space that challenges the reader to think about how spaces are conceived, used, abused and also how the legal ownership and use of that land is not as fixed as it may appear. Gardening in this book is more than planting; it is a tool for the democratisation of space.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant whether you like to garden or not 29 May 2008
The thing I loved about this book was that you don't need to be a keen gardener to love or be interested in what it's all about.

An interest in making our surroundings a better place is all you need. Which helps give the lover of urban landscapes by providing an in-road into making their environment a better place - and appreciating how that has been achieved by others.

It's as inspirational a book as the reader wants it to be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and a great read 25 Aug 2008
I heard about guerrilla gardening on the radio. I thought it was a modern urban trend. It was fascinating to discover it's history. There are page turning stories of many different individuals across the world. As well as gardening the book touches on a surprisingly wide range of relevant issues for society today, from the shortage of space in cities, developing world food security and even adbusting!

Above all I enjoyed reading it. It made me laugh and feel inspired.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun! 12 May 2008
This book is a great read and shows how anyone can become a guerrilla gardener, with lot of easy tips and ideas. The pictures are really lovely. Very inspiring!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'ground breaking' read 30 April 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'd buy this book for the cover alone - an iconic flower-and-towerblock print that takes me back to those non-fiction gems found, without dust jacket, at the town library 20 years ago.

If you do fancy reading the contents too, you'll see that this is also a fantastically enjoyable, highly readable, beautifully illustrated and surprisingly intelligent first outing, by someone I think we'll all be seeing a lot more of in the next few years.

Reynolds is a self-styled 'Guerrilla Gardener'. He digs, weeds and replants unloved public spaces in South London, at night. Anyone who has followed his short but intriguing media career will have noticed that he manages to do this surrounded by an unfeasibly glamourous 'posse' of young Londoners who, it appears, self-select based on good looks, edgy postcodes and highly fashionable ecological credentials. This is not one of those dreadlocked new agers digging up Parliament square and giving Winston a Mohican - more of a well spoken Jamie Oliver of the flowerbeds.

Given all that I'd seen in the newspapers I'd expected a lighthearted, very London (in the Banksy sense of the word) but ultimately feather-light stocking filler. Instead I was surprised to find a thoughtfully written and well referenced book that is one third horticulture, one third social history and one third urban geography. Throughout there are also tracts of effortlessly funny writing. I think it's a charming read and worth a place on any serious gardener's (or urban geographer's) bookshelf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
...In fact, it probably helps if you don't.

A wonderful book, beautifully written, presented and providing a gateway into a movement that is growing and blooming in the manner of the most beautiful and diverse gardens. And diversity is key. At many points in the book, Reynolds highlights the fact that guerrilla gardening is a movement that acts as an umbrella for a diverse group of political beliefs, lifestyle choices and gardening motives.

The book is split into two sections: one describing the motives, ideas and history of the movement. The second section is packed with practical and easy to follow advice on how to get started as well as how to gain support and develop your garden into something beyond a hobby and into something that is extremely valuable for the community.

In selecting the book's style, Reynolds has clearly opted for the method which would make the book as inclusive as possible. And one may conclude that his strategy has been effective. After visiting the website,I learnt that two gardens within 2 minutes from my front door that I always appreciated and assumed to be the work of Haringey council, is actually the work of guerrilla gardeners.

The garden, like the truth in the X Files, is out there.

Power to the Guerrilla Gardeners of the world and to this well written and thoroughly enjoyable book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very inspiring book.
A great read, very inspiring. Some good information about guerrilla gardening and many useful tips. I'm looking forward to the spring to put this information to good use.
Published 16 months ago by Jerry Howse
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring.....
Great book weel written, should inspire readers into action and get involved in projects of your own and with others in your town!!
Published on 19 Mar 2011 by Marcus
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and lacking in substance
As an admirer of the Guerilla Gardening movement, I looked forward to discovering more about it. I felt after reading the book that it was a bit superficial in its coverage of... Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2010 by Crafty Chrissie
2.0 out of 5 stars All very student friendly but woolly minded
Am I the only person who found this book annoying?
Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with the principle of gardening neglected public space, I found Reynolds' tone irritating at... Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2010 by DrLMK
4.0 out of 5 stars Join the horticultural insurgency
Richard Reynolds founded guerrillagardening.org a few years ago, giving a name and a face to a hobby/movement that's been rumbling on for decades, if not centuries - Reynolds... Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2010 by Jeremy Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired!
The walk from my front gate to the station will never be the same again having read this book, I'll be forever wondering where to drop the seeds that I'll have secreted about my... Read more
Published on 29 May 2009 by Mr. Robert Workman
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book!
I would definitely recommend this book-it really inspired me to go out into my local area and brighten things up, or as it says in the book 'fight the filth with forks and... Read more
Published on 5 May 2009 by Mr. I. Midgley
5.0 out of 5 stars No excuses for no gardening!
This book shows that there is no excuse for anyone to neglect the world around them - you don't need any gardening expertise, your own garden or special tools to make the world a... Read more
Published on 5 May 2009 by M. Suggars
5.0 out of 5 stars Blooming great
It is the perfect weather for even the least hardy of us to get out and do a spot of Guerilla Gardening. Read more
Published on 4 May 2009 by PDiddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Loved this book - well written, lovingly put together and inspiring to boot. Have bought it for lots of my friends who want to be a little greener, a little more community focused... Read more
Published on 4 May 2009 by H. J. Kennedy
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