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In the Garden

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Guerilla Gardening: Planting Herbs in Downtown Kansas City

7/20/2009 10:04:41 AM

Tags: guerilla gardening, guerilla garden, guerilla gardener, herb gardens, basil, tomatoes

After procuring a truckload of marigolds and various herbs and tomato plants, I sent a message out to the forces. I made my way to Niko Niko’s to throw back a PBR and rally the Guerrillas. The secret to changing the world is not to talk so much. Just start doing something and the rest will fall into place. An integral factor to this equation is faith. 

The Captain and Niko Niko were on the porch drinking a few beers and seeming bored when I asked them if they wanted to install another guerrilla garden. 

“You know I’m down for whatever,” The Captain replied. As always, he follows the current, keeping in step with time. 

“When you wanna do it?” Niko Niko asked. 

“Oh,” I looked down at my watchless wrist, “I was thinking right now.” 

Two slammed beers and car doors later, The Captain vaults into the truck bed and we were on our way to 12th and Grand, hearts racing with the excitement of the task ahead. The streetlights gleam off my Silver Tacoma and The Captain’s shades. I look to Niko Niko and she smiles back at me. For such a small truck, it can carry tons and tons of love. 

We arrive, scope out the guerilla garden site and begin unloading the flats of marigolds, cinnamon, Thai basil and various tomato plants. The petunia trumpets our arrival in royal purple. We are her liberating army. 

alley herbs
Potted herbs thrive in a downtown alley. Photo By Chad Johnson/Courtesy Flickr.

I instruct my foot soldiers on what to do and arrange the plants into prime numbers. Rings of marigold plants—13, seven, five and 11—form a perimeter in each planter. Three tomatoes and three basil plants fill out the center in the larger planters and two each in the smaller ones. Prime numbers are an obsession of mine—symbolically they represent a force that cannot be divided except by one and itself, which will always leave the number one, or itself . . . beautiful, no? 

Although it is our quickest operation to date—parked, planted, and peaced out in 30 minutes—two cruisers and a night security guard pass us by silently like ships in the night. Times like these convince me we are protected by a great benevolent force. Had we vandalized the concrete with spray paint, we would have been picked up in a heartbeat only a block from the city’s recently renovated, restaurant-and-nightclub-filled Power & Light District, but our medium of writing on the walls is soil, seed and stem. 

So sad that this gift would be vandalized within a few days of its completion...



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