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Guerilla Gardening: Operation Slippery Slope

8/4/2009 3:00:09 PM

Tags: guerilla gardening, guerilla garden, guerilla gardener

To our wonderful readership: Thank you for your interest in our Robin Hoodian mischief. Here is the tale of what put me on this magazine's radar. It is a tale of love, adventure, war, petty squabble and the destruction squabble begets.  However, without giving too much away, there is dawn on the horizon. 

Now I give you the first installment of what I have dubbed “Operation Slippery Slope.” 

This is a love story. 

It was March. I had not seen Kitty in months, not since I ran into her on 18th Street when I was with my brother while he shopped for Christmas gifts. Her kiss was still burning my lips from that cold December day on this precipitous March evening. We had met at the bar and played catch up. Her life had been her usual ebb and flow; jobs, lovers and living situations in constant flux. Same Kitty. Then it was my turn. 

“I'm a neophyte urban agrarian,” I say, pointing down to the books I had been carrying with me: Organic Growers Encyclopedia, The Herb Bible, Peacock Manure and Marigolds. “I have about 65 tomatoes, 20 odd eggplants and 50 various peppers started at my house under fluorescents. My brother Alexander gave me permission to turn the house into a homestead. The neighbors are already giving some grief. One of them actually asked, ‘Can you do that?’ to which I replied, ‘Are you gonna try to stop me?’” 

We laugh. We drink. I hope this ends well. 

She tells me she and her roommate were planning a garden in the backyard and asks if I'd like to check it out. I'm thinking this is a clever way of inviting me back to her place, but the energy I would expend that night would be mental, and not physical. So much the better. 

After arriving at her place, she shows me to the back. Just as my kiss would fail to be planted on her lips that night, anything planted in this yard would fail. It is riddled with trash accumulated through the years by a packrat landlord. The trees are overgrown and the soil is rocky. Not even weeds thrive here.

“I'm sorry,” I tell her, “but unless you are a Druid, no fruit-bearing plant will thrive in this environment.”

“No worries,” she says, distracted. “Come here, I want to show you the view!” 

And what a view this would be. From it, I could see the future…



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