Every time I walk past the tubs outside the Poehill Reserve I think about how much prettier they could be.
They are in prime visual real estate (Aro, Kelburn and Highbury residents see them on a daily basis) and they are pretty shabby. I have nothing against grasses and wild flowers, but to me these signify a lack of care. As residents of one of Wellington’s more aesthetically “bohemian” neighbourhoods, it often feels like people use our shabby-chic look to justify neglect or poor design. For example, when Aro Park got a make-over last year we were treated to designer rusted seats and benches.
So I decided to do something about it. Armed with various implements of de-struction, I attacked the grassy tubs one at a time until there was on longer any grass in them. I took out the rubbish, rocks and glass, broke up the soil, put heaps of mulch and sheep poo fertilizer in it and planted some geraniums and dahlias (my two kill-proof plants). I packed up all the weeds, rubbish, rocks and glass and disposed of them once I got home.
People stopped and chatted and encouraged me while I worked. Most just wanted to know why I was doing it – “I thought it would be a nice thing to do”. Others gave me their gardening horror stories. One little girl asked if she could take the eftpos card I had dug out of the tub.
The only major problem was water. I had counted on an external tap on the old Aro Street hall. Luckily a lovely man from across the road allowed me to use his rainwater tank to fill up my bucket and water the plants.
So there you have it, guerrilla gardening aka making my neighbourhood prettier.