Guerrilla Gardening: the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to cultivate, such as abandoned sites, areas that are not being cared for, or private property.
Not something I’d expect to see on the side of one of the busiest roads in Penang, but at approximately 5°26'09.4"N 100°18'46.0"E there is a well-maintained and entirely lovable guerrilla garden.
I love the idea of guerrilla gardening more than conventional (wheat-paste posters, stickers) and unconventional (yarn bombing) street art because unlike paint or acrylic yarn which eventually erodes into tiny plastic particles, plants return to the soil cleanly.
The humble materials used in the garden are hardware store staples — wire, bamboo poles, and bricks.
Also used was the upcycled skeleton of an umbrella, which made me smile and just goes to show that you don’t need fancy pots or beautiful watering cans to start planting. It showcases the heart and creativity of the gardener — he/she saw the value in a broken umbrella and utilised what was readily available.
The gardener used rocks and twigs to delineate plots and form little boundaries, and they remind me of faerie rings (mushroom rings for those of you who don’t believe in magic) which seem to appear magically overnight. The boundaries seem imbued with magic — they are rings of protection since this technically-illegal garden is out in the open and free game for any passerby.
So what should you do if you encounter a guerrilla garden out in the open? At the risk of sounding too hippy-dippy, which at this point is not entirely-unwelcome, any greenery that “invades” a public space just seems to be like nature taking back what was hers in the first place. Unless the garden or gardener is outright disrespectful, destructive, harmful or invasive, I think we can all find delight and perhaps discover a little magic with greenery in an unexpected location.