Manchester Drive Forest Garden Project

The purpose of this blog is to document the development of the forest garden project that I have been setting up at Manchester Drive allotment site in Leigh on Sea, Essex, as well as any other random permacultural (or not) rambling thoughts that might happen to stray from my brain. I hope you enjoy it or better still, feel inspired to start your own edible food forest!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Guerrilla Gardening on BBC Southern Counties

I've just done a live interview over the phone with Charlie Crocker for BBC Southern Counties Radio, BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Solent, BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Berkshire which went out across Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire about Guerrilla Gardening, which was fun although nerve racking! Thank you to the charming Lydia who sorted it out...

Talk about things that come back to haunt you... my status as a 'Guerrilla Gardening Guru' stems back to 1989 when I was asked to write an article for Green Anarchist magazine about allotments and guerrilla gardening- you can read it here if you want- consequently this got recycled a few years later by some Reclaim the Streets folks for a spoof newspaper they put together around the events of mayday 2000, then Grauniard journalist Lucy Seigel mentioned me in her book Green Living in the Urban Jungle. She also gave our Permaculture Courses a plug in the Observer which was nice, but does seem to have set me up as being some sort of authority on the subject! I even got described as the 'original UK Guerrilla gardener', although I think that honour should perhaps be reserved for Gerard Winstanley and the 1649 Diggers of St Georges Hill. However, Guerrilla Gardening and land squatting does have a long and venerable tradition, and hopefully our small efforts at Moon Corner, a previously unloved and littered spot in Leigh on Sea not too far from the Grand Hotel that was cleared by local people and made into a beautiful micro-community garden are a worthy footnote in that history (or should that be herstory as, apart from the Woodcraft Folk kids who got involved, the majority of the volunteers who cleared, planted and made the beautiful mosaic on the floor were women...). Not quite as high profile as The Land Is Ours squatting of the site of the old Wandsworth Guiness Brewery in 1996 , or indeed of Winston's Green mohican, but at least its lasted 12 years now...

Want to get started in guerrilla gardening? Start small- I once found a handful of left over onion sets in my pocket when waiting for a train- I pushed these into the soil of a flower bed by the bench, hey presto, a few months later, free onions!

Or for further inspiration check out my co-guest Richard's website at


At 1:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pest control in the perennial garden
If you have any good tips please post trhem on my blog

One of the many advantages of growing perennials is the ability of these beautiful flowers to return to full bloom season after season. While this ability to bloom repeatedly is one of the things that makes perennials so special, it also introduces a number of important factors into your gardening plan. One of the most important of these is a proper pest control regimen.

While a garden full of annuals starts each season as a blank slate, the perennial garden is essentially a work in progress. The fact that the plants stay in the ground through winter makes things like proper pruning, disease management and pest control very important. If the garden bed is not prepared properly after the current growing season, chances are the quality of the blooms will suffer when the next season rolls around.

One of the most important factors to a successful perennial pest control regimen is the attention and vigilance of the gardener. As the gardener, you are in the best position to notice any changes in the garden, such as spots on the leaves, holes in the leaves, or damage to the stems. Any one of these could indicate a problem such as pest infestation or a disease outbreak.

It is important to nip any such problem in the bud, since a disease outbreak or pest infestation can easily spread to take over an entire garden. Fortunately for the gardener, there are a number of effective methods for controlling both common pests and frequently seen plant diseases.

Some of these methods are chemical in nature, such as insecticides and fungicides, while others are more natural, like using beneficial insects to control harmful ones. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, many gardeners prefer to try the natural approach first, both for the health of the garden and the environment.

There is an additional benefit of the natural approach that many gardeners are unaware of. These days, it is very popular to combine a koi pond with a garden, for a soothing, relaxing environment. If you do plan to incorporate some type of fish pond into your garden landscape, it is critical to avoid using any type of insecticide or fungicide near the pond, since it could seep into the water and poison the fish. Fish are extremely sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially with a closed environment like a pond.

As with any health issue, for people or plants, prevention is the best strategy to disease control and pest control alike. The best defense for the gardener is to grow a garden full of the healthiest, most vigorous plants possible. Whenever possible, varieties of plants bred to be disease or pest resistant should be used. There are a number of perennials that, through selective breeding, are quite resistant to the most common plant diseases, so it is a good idea to seek them out.

Happy gardening,

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