Getting permission and working with others
It may seem contrary to the concept of "guerrilla" gardening but things will probably go better if you co-ordinate your gardening activities with other guerrilla gardeners (so that, for example, they don't plant all over your newly seeded plot) and also with the Council and their contractors, or other owners, who may be more helpful than you expect. It can be a win-win situation with a plot for you and less maintenance for the owner - but they do need to know where not to mow, for example, and you need to know if the plot is already earmarked for other planting or in an area of nature conservation which should not be disturbed.
Plots and contacts:
For anywhere (e g verges, parks) that belongs to the Council, contact Marie-Claire Edwards at the Council, who can tell you if it is a conservation area or put you in touch with the Council's gardening contractor Quadron: Marie-Claire.Edwards@rbk.kingston.gov.uk.
For library gardens or planters, contact: John.email@example.com (New Malden); firstname.lastname@example.org (Surbiton); email@example.com (Tudor Drive) - or talk to the library supervisor of other libraries. Some are managed by the Council so would direct you to Marie-Claire Edwards or Quadron.
For public planters in Kingston town centre, contact Lou Raggatt at Kingstonfirst: Lou.Raggett@kingstonfirst.co.uk or 020 8547 1221.
For access to Bentalls Centre planters, try the Facilities Manager:
For John Lewis planters, contact Lene Wood, Community Liaison Coordinator: CLC_Kingston@johnlewis.co.uk or 0208 547 3000 EXT 4584.
For YMCA Surbiton, which has asked for volunteers and advice on their Blossoming YMCA project, contact Clemency: 020 8339 4621 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild flower seeds from River of Flowers - if you've had any seeds or perennials from River of Flowers (or elsewhere - see Flora Locale directory of businesses for some good sources), please plant them somewhere visible (a front garden, a public space - but check on this website that it isn't someone else's patch), put out a River of Flowers sign + any other info you like with them, and register by emailing the address of your flower (or flower and edibles) plot on the Contact Us form below and also, if you can, at http://www.riverofflowers.org/.
Growing edibles and wild flowers together - advice from River of Flowers
One of River of Flowers unique points is that we plant wildflowers with edibles to attract beneficial insects, increase crop yield and improve the soil just as organic farmers do. You can grow vetches such as Common Vetch from seed and plant them over the autumn as ground cover. Borage and Comfrey can be thugs but make great green mulches if kept contained. The staple plant of the organic farmer is Red Clover and that should be in every edible garden. River of Flowers also recommends wild varieties of herbs and medicinal wildflowers such as Feverfew, Purple Betony and Wild Fennel. Finally, it's not wild but every edible plot should have marigolds, one of the best companion plants there is.
- For growing with soft fruit and vegetables
Common Vetch (Vicia sativa) and other vetches - these provide ground cover and bring nitrogen into the soil and improve it over the winter.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) - this makes a great green mulch if kept contained - needs dampish conditions
Harebell (Campanula rotunifolia)
Red Clover (Trifoloium praetense) - this is bee and crop friendly - main wildflower grown with organic food
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) - these attract aphid-eating insects
Wild Basil (Clinopodium vulgare), Wild Chives ( Allium schoenoprasum), Wild Marjoram (Origanum vulgare) and Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) - these are wild varieties of herbs
Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) - this will raise the oil content of neighbouring crops and thereby help them to resist disease and parasite attack
Wild Chicory (Cichorium intybus) and Wild Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) - these are useful in any food growing space
* There could be an issue over Wild Chives and Chives in general because dogs that can have problems with them but otherwise the plants are safe for humans.
- For growing in orchards
For orchards, we recommend shade loving or tolerant plants for early forage and ground cover:
Betony (Stachys officinalis) - prefers dappled shade
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) - amazing plant for orchards because of the length of its flowering season
Foxglove (Digitalis lutea) - less problematic than the purple variety
Ivy (Hedera helix) - a great climber for providing late forage - needs to be kept under control
Nettle-leavedBellflower(Campanula trachelium) - a native flower of great beauty supporting wild bees
Primrose (Primula vulgaris) - early flowering forage plant - seed is very expensive use plug plants
Red Campion (Silene dioica) - likes dampish conditions
Scented Violet (Viola odorata) – early flowering forage plant. The Dog Violet (Viola canina) may do better in certain soils
Wild Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) - like Ivy, flowering climbers are useful around trees