Friday, June 18, 2010

(UN)Doing It - In Memory of T and Vermont

Guerillas. GUERILLAS! Today is a sad, sad day, for THE MAN has torn up our site at T Street and Vermont NW.
This morning I drove by the location of our first-ever event - the event in which we came together as a group for the first time - to check on the progress of our plants and you know what I saw? I saw HORROR. Men in uniform were digging up the beds.

In dismay, I looked around and saw that our leafy friends were gone. The evening primrose, the coreopsis, the black-eyed susans... all gone. All that was left was bare mulch. The same bare mulch, I must point out, that had been there, empty, for two solid years before we took it over. The only redeeming quality of that bare mulch was that the house sparrows were frolicking in it, and that was sort of cute.

I took a hard gander at the truck that had brought the gardeners (Can you call them gardeners?) to our spot and was surprised to see the words "U.S. Government - Department of the Interior - Parks Service" printed on the side. Department of the Interior? Really?
A little later I did some calling and found out that most of the open land in the District is overseen by the National Parks Service, which makes sense because it's the District. When dealing with Rock Creek Park or the National Mall, the National Parks Service's involvement is obvious, but for a small patch of forgotten property in a residential area? Apparently so.

My call ended at the Park Service --> Capital Area Region --> National Mall and Memorial Parks. Once there, I wasn't sure who to talk to to find out their plans for the spot. (And also, WHERE IS MY COREOPSIS, YO?!) Not wanting to leave a incoherent message in the general mailbox, I hung up. 'Cause really, what could I say? "Hello, my group illegally gardened and now we're upset because you came and took our plants away. GIVE ME BACK MY COREOPSIS!"

Not long ago I blogged about the nature of guerilla gardening. I said that we have to accept that our plants are never safe and that they're subject to the whims of nature and people. I was all perspective-y and maybe even a little poetic. But you know what? THAT'S CRAP. It's MADDENING when people undo your work. Dog poop be damned. I'd take that over out-and-out destruction.

So I'm putting aside what I know about the nature of guerilla gardening. I am putting aside my acceptance of its sometimes transitory nature. I'm taking off my mantle of "do and let be" and I'm choosing NOT to look at the Big Picture...

...because I'm mad and I don't want to have perspective. Instead I want to kick someone.



  1. Just to put down MULCH!?! FUCKERS!

  2. Your blog keeps coming up in my Google Alerts and I'm really enjoying your entries! From one guerrilla to another...well done, well done.

    Going to link you on our site for sure.

    Thanks for the great reads.

    Roly Poly
    LA Guerrilla Gardening

  3. Ibid - That's what I said! But it seems that The Man had a Plan and that mulch was part of it. Our sad, strugging plants have gone the way of the dodo, but those that had taken root (or those whose plant markers were still in place) are present and accounted for. I'd like to remain angry at The Man, but I guess they were just doing their job. Now it's my job to go back out there and plant something else.

    Roly Poly - Ah, gardening comrade! So nice to have you here on the DCGG site! :-) It's great to meet other guerilla groups and see what you're up to. I'll post you guys on our blog roll!! (Which is coming soon. I'm redoing our site! Woo!) - Theresa