WHISPERING SMITH: The midnight gorilla gardeners

My thanks to Maureen Ross for supplying the gorilla& his name is Herbie
My thanks to Maureen Ross for supplying the gorilla& his name is Herbie

Fancy a spot of ‘gorilla gardening’? There is a lot of it about... Actually, it is called ‘guerrilla gardening’ but that word has an ominous ring to it when related to the word rebel and, although there is a certain rebelliousness among the perpetrators of the pastime, in practice it is a very quiet and gentle affair.

I prefer ‘gorilla gardening’, chest beating, yes, but sort of hairy and cuddly at the same time. It is community spirited but may be misunderstood and interpreted by some of the jobsworths who run our town as being vandalism. They would be so wrong.

We, in our road, have donned the gorilla mantle and greatly improved our surroundings, so much so we now get council help.

No one is quite sure where the title of ‘guerrilla gardening’ originated and various dates have been given right back to as long ago as the 17th century and latterly to the flower power movement of the sixties.

It was, and to some extent still is, simply a matter of taking over a piece of neglected and uncared for land that does not actually belong to you and then cultivating it.

Here in the south, gorilla gardeners mostly plant flowers but, I suspect, those guerrillas north of the Watford Gap are a little cannier and grow produce they can eat rather than sniff and admire.

I have friends on a local estate who have greatly improved their grass verge and the surrounding area. In one case a neat and very precise circle has been cut around a lone tree, dug, composted and planted with wildflowers as well as a sprinkling of bulbs. It is such an improvement in fact that, along with regular grass cutting, it has attracted much admiration, encouragement and donations of compost from the neighbours. Of course, I am not advocating that people go out, dig up their verges and plant spuds but, with a little care, thought and common-sense many improvements could and are being be made, it really is just a matter of doing the right thing in the right place at the right time.

If you can see a way of improving your local environment, then go for it, don that gorilla suit, scratch your head, grunt and dig...

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