‘Guerrilla gardeners’ strike

2010-10-26 00:00

HAYFIELDS residents woke up one morning recently to discover that a subversive international phenomenon had hit their quiet suburb.

Under cover of early morning darkness and mist, some guerrilla gardeners had dug up and replanted an untended traffic island in Hesketh Drive.

Previously occupied by a lone aloe and grass, the island was re-planted with a variety of indigenous plants including gazanias, aloes, proteas, irises and succulents.

The island is officially the property and responsibility of the Msunduzi Municipality, whose spokesperson, Brian Zuma, said: “Although the municipality encourages public-private partnerships and projects of this nature, it should be noted that any attempt to embark on such initiatives must be done in consultation with the municipality.

“Furthermore, there are legal implications that need to be considered, especially the height of plant material, poisonous plants, signage by-laws, etc.

“Moreover, if the incorrect plant material is used it can eventually pose a traffic hazard and can result in accidents and liability claims against the council. The municipality will act against those who violate this rule.”

The identity of the guerrilla gardening group is known to The Witness and a spokesperson for the group said they had received very positive feedback for their work, apart from “one very angry man who walked a long way up Hesketh Drive to come and swear at us”.

According to Wikipedia, the term “guerrilla gardening” was first used in 1973 when a group replanted a derelict plot in New York.

It refers to gardening on another person’s land without permission and takes in a diverse range of people and motivations — from gardeners who go beyond their legal boundaries to political gardeners who aim to provoke change through direct action.

The land that is replanted is usually abandoned or neglected. Some guerrilla gardeners work at night, in secrecy, while others garden during the day to be seen by the community and publicise their cause.

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