Have you been into a Poundland lately?
Before you choke and splutter on your tea, I’ll say that it’s a brilliant place for buying random necessities like toothpaste, knee highs and deodorant for a fraction of the price you would pay in supermarkets or chemists.
Surprisingly Poundland, well, in Brixton at least, also has a fair selection of seeds, bulbs and even bedding plants, which at, er, a pound a bag makes them a bargain. With spring in the air and pollen in my nose, I’ve recently spent more than a few minutes looking at the brightly coloured varieties and wondering what to do with them.
The sad truth is that they’ve remained on shelf, for the garden that I share with its owners is simply too refined, too sedate, to suffer a garrulous band of newcomers from the wrong side of the tracks. So, how do I rescue said plants from a life of halogen lighting without causing horticultural disharmony and – if you’ll excuse a pun on that cliche – a riot of colour?
Queue Richard Reynolds, the enterprising man behind guerillagardening.org and his new project – and one after my own heart – called Pimp Your Pavement.
Heard of it yet? It’s encouraging us, or everyone within sight of pavement at least, to plant up its empty spaces, tree pits especially, with flowers and shrubs, and the Pimp Your Pavement website gives good hints and tips to help you get your own section of pavement looking more cheerful.
In the past, Richard has tackled some quite large projects, notably the neglected municipal areas close to his flat but, for the average person, taking on that kind of thing can be rather daunting, and without tremendous commitment it is almost bound to fail. The last time I tried guerilla gardening, in Durban some years ago, a little Felicia amelloides I planted and hoped would spread was repeatedly mown down by a municipal tractor driver merely doing his job.
The small dead space beneath the tree outside my front door, however, is rather more manageable and less likely to receive any attention at all, save the odd bit of fertilizing urine from one Brixton’s many dogs. Time to head back to Poundland.