This past winter I heard about the website Sharing Backyards, which connects landless wannabe gardeners with people who have gardens, but don’t want to garden themselves. (This is the same site that helped the guys over at The New Urban Sharecroppers get a yard to garden in. )
I was surprised to see that someone had put a “sharing my yard” listing about a block from my apartment. When I clicked on it, though, it turned out that someone had just noted the location of an empty lot and suggested that a gardener could probably plant some things there without being bothered.
I hemmed and hawed for a few months. I looked at all those extra seedlings I had started, and wondered if it maybe was worth the risk of getting caught trespassing to plant some tomatoes and squash in the lot. Then, one day in late May, I walked by the lot and found someone had beaten me to the punch!
It’s a little hard to see, but that’s a stand of strawberry plants hidden among the empty lot’s copious grasses. There were also some outcroppings of flowers that were too pretty and unusual to be wildflowers. Someone was clearly cultivating the lot. The strawberry plants were bearing many huge, beautiful berries at the time. I hope they remained undisturbed by animals and interlopers long enough for the gardener to come back and harvest them.
Sadly, I walked by the lot again yesterday and the whole thing had been mowed clean. I guess that’s the risk of guerilla gardening. Without a formal arrangement, there’s not much you can do to prevent your work from getting wiped out. Still, if those strawberry plants had established some roots and and runners, they might regenerate. Perhaps all is not lost for the mystery gardener.