Guerilla Gardening: A Manualfesto

As condo mania increases in Toronto, it is not difficult to wonder what the landscape of the city will look like in a few years. Most likely grey, cold and hard: welcome to the concrete jungle. To combat this ugly landscape, David Tracey, a journalist and environmental designer based in Vancouver, is offering you some tips in Guerilla Gardening: A Manualfesto. What is guerilla gardening anyway? Well, as Tracey writes, “Guerilla gardening is autonomy in green. You don’t have to join a club to pay any dues or accept any codes. You even get to define it yourself. I call it ‘gardening public space without permission’.” This means, finding an area that is in desperate need of some greenery and making a random act of gardening by picking up some shattered glass or planting a few seeds to beautify the surroundings. Yes, it is as easy as that. What is great about this book is that it actually offers tips on how to make the urban landscape that surrounds you greener. Whereas some books just scream “the sky is falling” or in this case, “the birds are flying away”, “the icebergs are melting”, whatever, the manuelfesto outlines what can be done to help improve our immediate surroundings. The book will also plant seeds in your head about long-term care for our planet. Some of the best parts of Guerilla Gardening are the lists and tips for green thumbs about garden design, edible landscaping and how to ward of developers. One list is for “10 lines to try if you get stopped in the middle of a planting project” that includes, “didn’t you get the memo?” and “oops”. The book is also sprinkled with quotes such as “A weed is a poor creature whose virtue has not yet been discovered,” and lyrics like “We’re playing those mind games together, Pushing barriers, planting seeds, Playing the mind guerilla” by John Lennon that inspire. Guerilla Gardening is an awesome book for those already interested in beautifying the urban landscape but also a good book to give to friends, especially if you want to plant a seed in someone’s head. (Erin Kobayashi)

by David Tracey, $23.95, 227 pgs, New Society Publishers, P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC, V0R 1X0, newsociety.com

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