Friday, October 30, 2009

quick update

hey everyone.

so i didn't officially let you know, but gardening has stopped for the season.
there are two reasons for this:
1) winter is approaching so planting flowers typically does not happen
2) my semester at school has kicked into high gear and i've been needing more time to focus on that

however, i have still been getting a lot of interest in GGing.

my plan is to hopefully get some local florists involved next summer to donate flowers so that we can make a bigger impact. I figure now that there is photographic evidence and stories written about this in the paper it adds to the legitimacy of it. Hopefully flower shop owners will agree!

did you know that Home Depot destroys all of their plants every month that don't sell? and they won't give them to me! and they won't tell me when/where they exactly shred them so that they can 'conveniently get coffee' while i clandestinely run in and save the plants before they go into the chopper. outrageous! if you know anyone that works at a home depot who is willing to bend the rules for the GG cause, please contact me!

I will keep you all posted as to any media hits there are and when the summer gets closer expect the blog to pick back up.

until then, have a warm winter and maybe start some seedlings in your apartment for the first outing next year :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bucktown Library

the month of august has been crazy. I've been interning, taking classes and completing a yoga teacher training. The weather has been beautiful and I've been riding around everywhere, scouting out the next spot to beautify-- when i had some time! There are so many places, but I really like the idea of planting flowers around places that serve the public in some way. So this month it was the wickerpark/bucktown library. They have some bushes, but it needed a little love. My friend Dustin and I went to home depot on our bicycles to pick up some flowers and realized there was no way we were carrying the cargo without some help. So I called my friend Josh and he came to the rescue because he has a car. We were able to successfully get the flowers from point A to point B. ALSO! Stanley came out this week for the first time and he actually brought more flowers to plant! that was awesome.
This is Josh and Dustin getting to work on one of the sides.
Here's one side.
Here's the other side.

All in all it was a really fun night. It took about 40 minutes and we had some digging issues because one of the sides of the entrance had a few obstacles underground that took awhile to dig up. Other than that it was great and now the library and all its customers have something special to look at as they go to check some books out.

thanks to candice, josh, dustin and stanley for helping!

chicago tribune article

I would have updated this sooner, but really I didn't think this story existed on the internet! This is Bill Hagerman's article from last month's guerrilla gardening trip. It came out really great. I couldn't find it online, so I called him early monday morning and asked him to send me some hard copies-- chicago tribunes run 2 dollars each! so he sent me a dozen hard copies! what a good guy.

anyway, thank you ashley for finding this link online so I can share it with people.

Friday, July 24, 2009

smith park GG

last night was fun.
i was exhausted and it was rainy all day, but the invites were already set out, so i was committed.

at 10pm my two lovely roommates (jenny and amanda) along with my friend chris (happy belated, bro!) went down to grand and rockwell right at smith park. the Chicago Tribune asked in advance to follow me on this dig to write a story-- so keep an eye out for the sunday special feature article in early august!

i had 35 flowers, two trowels, a small rake, a screwdriver and a pair of gardening gloves. ms. moriah showed up and it's a good thing she did because she is the fastest digger i've ever encountered. i think it's because she grew up on a farm.

anyway, the job was quick. we beautified the entrance to the park next to what looked like the restrooms, but apparently they are not restrooms. an old building of some sort. they had bushes, but no flowers and there is a park right by and a picnic table, so hopefully people will notice the difference.

a special thanks and shout out to my fabulous sister nicole who generously donated 20 dollars for the dig! she's in san francisco, so she can't help out in the sense of digging, but she wanted to help so she mailed me some funds. greatly appreciated

here are some pictures, though the after picture doesn't really do it justice:

Friday, June 26, 2009

viva chicago

well, it's been a little bit since the last dig.
here's the update:

I am over-ambitious and so when i originally said this would be a weekly effort, I got in over my head.
To remedy this, I knocked it down to a monthly event. much more affordable and attainable.

THAT said, I went on the June dig last night!
Josh, his totally awesome friend Keri and myself met up at the viva chicago mural (on Hubbard st at Carpenter) to plant some things. It was really hot out all day, but by 10 it had cooled off and was a beautiful night. With a generous donation of 10 dollars from my supervisor at Access Living I was able to buy some garden tools for this time around. It's a good thing, because this soil needed some tilling! it was hard and dry and lots of weeds.

We were also joined by a freelance journalist who is trying to publish a story on guerrilla gardening in the Chicago Reader. He was there asking questions the whole time, which made for interesting conversation (or really monologues..) but it was a good reminder to me of why i love this concept.

yes, it's fun. yes, flowers are pretty. but really guerrilla gardening to me is about a public service. i could garden all i want in my backyard (or tiny patio) but this is about spreading the love, getting together with a group of people and making a difference. it builds community with those I am gardening with and makes a statement to those that notice "hey, where did these flowers come from?" it raises community morale and it's so simple. every bit of land can be loved, even the forgotten plots, even the small plots. it all makes a difference!

anyway, below are the before and after pictures! check them out

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cafe Ballou

Well this week's guerrilla gardening took place outside of Cafe Ballou. It's right around the block from St. Helen's and they have these wooden flower boxes that were filled with weeds and not flowers. SO! Rachel and I took our saturday night and fixed them up.

It's finals week for me, so I was running a bit behind schedule. I got to Jewel Osco about 5 minutes before they closed to pick up some flowers. I was on my bike, so I had to put the flowers in my back pack and hope nothing spilled over in my bag! I got there, met up with Rachel and got to digging. Neither of us had tools (I was lacking in organization this week!!) so we just dug with our bare hands! it was sort of fun, though.

There's no action shots this week because there was only two of us and we were both digging. When we finished we asked a passerby to take our picture. It was a great way to spend a saturday night!

Monday, April 27, 2009

St. Helen's Gardening

Last week I was riding my bike trying to find a place to garden next.  There's really no shortage of places to garden, but I think this is still an important part of the process.  I also wanted to have it near some friend's apartments so that I would guarantee the extra help since this is still so new. 

I found this elementary school (I swear I will garden at other places besides elementary schools- it's just that there are so many and they always need flowers and I love the idea of children and teachers benefiting from this) called St. Helen's.   They had all these planter urns with nothing but weeds and leaves in them.  

There's a before and after shot of one of the urns.

There were five total. At around 10:15pm, my two core gardeners came out with me (Josh and Pam) with the soil, plants and gardening tools. Shortly after our arrival my dear friends Moriah, Rachel and Nick came out and got cracking. Between the five of us, it took about 10 minutes to revamp all five planter urns. We were all sort of amazed at how fast it was, and were unsure if we missed something big. When we realized we didn't, we posed for this shot, taken by Nick:

The best part- about 10 minutes after I got back home that night it started to rain! So I know those flowers got the watering they needed to last longer. I rode by the other day and checked on them and they're bright and visible.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


As an attempt to get the word out about this guerrilla gardening project, and to hopefully get some momentum and community involvement, I am going to post weekly updates on the sites. This way no one has to go on facebook to look at before and after pictures of the gardening events!

Rewind to two Thursdays ago: April 16th, 2009

My very good friend Josh told me he knew the perfect place for gardening. It was in the playground of this elementary school around the block from him. They have these empty plant box benches that never have flowers in them for some reason. As you can see, they're really cool, but could use some love and color.

That's where guerrilla gardening comes in. I snapped some before shots, gathered a small crew- myself, Josh, my friend pam and my friend and classmate Andy. I bought some plants and some soil, Pam brought the gardening tools and we gardened hard for about 10 whole minutes before we transformed the benches into this!

Hopefully the kids and teachers appreciate it!  If not, I had a lot of fun and I'm pretty sure everyone else did, too.