Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Me and the Guerrillas

 OK, if you read the lovely comment by Linda on the last posting, you will know she said something about coming clean.  I'm coming clean now and letting you know why I especially enjoyed all the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year!!

One of the things I love to do besides sewing and painting, is gardening.  6 years ago I met 3 ladies whilst we were all working on the station gardens in Leamington Spa.  We were able to make a real difference and transform the station terraces from wild undergrowth into a beautiful garden.

None of us are experts, but we do like a good whop around with the spade and secateurs!!

And, well, after the Station we just decided that we liked gardening together and we'd carry on.  There were lots of little bits of land around the town that were scruffy, strewn with litter (and needles and all sorts of grebby things) and needed a little tlc.  So we set about tidying up one or two of them, and it just grew, and grew, and as we didn't necessarily have permission from landowners to do all that we did, we became guerrilla gardeners.
That means we swooped (that is as swoopy as 4 mature ladies can be) on places, cleaned, dug, replanted and maintained.

6 years ago, a local Councillor put us in touch with a pressure group who had been trying to get the local council to spend some money on their nearby park, the Dell. Sadly it was in a poor state overgrown with brambles and bindweed and was a bit of a no-go area. ( blog here)

We decided to guerrilla on a very large scale!!  And here we are 6 years later and with over 4,000 hours under our belt, and with what I hope you'll agree, is a pretty park.
Of course we have permission from the council to do all this. Initially they were very sceptical, but are now supportive.

We have been to the Houses of Parliament to discuss what we've done with MP's and Peers, we have been in the Daily Telegraph, supporting the Gardening Against the Odds awards, received medals and certificates from the RHS, and had our photos blown up to over 6 foot tall to appear at the BBC Gardeners World Live show 2 years in succession.

We recycle as much as possible, raiding skips and compost heaps.  Although we had some money from various grants, most of these flowers have been provided on a shoestring or have been donated from our own gardens and those of local residents.

So, can you imagine the honour we felt this year when the local Town Council nominated us for the Queen Award For Voluntary Service (The MBE for Groups), and how nearly a year later we were flabbagasted to find out that we were one of a hundred groups in the UK that had received the award in this very special Jubilee Year. 

This is why I've been celebrating, and why we all went to Buckingham Palace on the 22nd for a Garden Party.

So, thank you to any residents of Leamington Spa that might be reading this.  It's a pleasure to do what we do and try and help make the environment a better place, and we're so glad you like the results and we are delighted that all the plants and flowers give you such joy.  

If you'd like to help us you'd be most welcome to come along at any time to help in our projects.  If we can get help, we can expand and do more.


  1. Congratulations, how wonderful that all your hard work has been recognised however I am sure you would carry on for the love of it, even if it hadn't.

  2. I could do with a couple of guerrillas inour garden ;-) Congratulations to all of your group for making the effort and making a difference.

  3. So very well deserved. Would you all like to come down and attack our little garden neglected for 7 years by tenants? (It was worth an ask, lols)

  4. Many congratulations. The photos of the gardens are stunning.

  5. Congratulations, what a wonderful achievement, we could do with hoards of guerillas in our area of bush.

  6. Thank you everyone, you're very kind :))

  7. wow well done you gals!!! much admiration from here xxx