The Pothole Gardener project is all about creating unexpected moments of happiness. His little gardens are a respite from the greyness of London. You can follow Steve Wheen AKA the Pothole Gardener on GardenTags for regular updates direct from the streets of London. Today, Steve discusses his square foot gardening projects with GardenTags…
Square Foot Gardening
The Pothole Method
I was running a gardening workshop just before Christmas, as part of an event at Somerset House. And I was struck by the lack of confidence of 20-30 year old Londoners in their ability to garden.
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My installation at Somerset House facilitated the creation of miniature themed gardens in ice buckets. It’s all part of my project, The Pothole Gardener. In which I create miniature gardens around London, and indeed the world, that bring surprise and delight to the people who stumble across them. It’s all about creating little moments of happiness in the street, getting people to to connect with the environment around them while bringing a smile to their face. All achievable, through square foot gardening.
I grew up in Australia, where helping in the garden was just something you did – in fact something you had to do. I didn’t ever appreciate the amount of space I grew up with until I moved to London. All of a sudden I had no space, no garden, and my tiny flat hardly had enough light to keep a succulent happy. That’s when I took my gardens to the streets.
Urban Gardening for me is about working with what you’ve got – or indeed what you can get your hands on. Gardening for me isn’t about creating symmetrical borders or knowing your “border plants” from your “biennials” – it’s about rolling your sleeves up and giving it a go. Be that a succulent on your window sill, in a pothole down the street, or perhaps a bougainvillia on your balcony.
The recent RHS Urban Garden Show (more a garden jam than garden show) proved that Urban Gardening in London is changing, and it’s changing fast. The Chelsea Fringe is another avenue showing the changing nature of gardening in London. It’s events range from Floating Gardens to Beer Gardens and even Guerilla Gardens – far from its distant cousin the Chelsea Flower Show.
These events and festivals show how gardening is more accessible and creative than ever. For me, the enjoyment is just getting out there and doing something and creating – it doesn’t have to be massive, it doesn’t even have to be outside.
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