Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Garden guerrillas wage urban campaign

By Owen Duffy
Step Up, BBC Scotland


Reclaiming the Dear Green Place

A group of gardeners in Glasgow is working to transform patches of waste ground into inner city gardens.

The guerrilla gardeners cultivate derelict land in an effort to improve the urban environment.

Their actions are technically illegal because they work on land which does not belong to them.

Jennifer Calder, from the group, said: "Nobody seems to mind at all." She said their efforts had been well received by the authorities and the public.

Ms Calder added: "I think people are just pleased to see that the land is being maintained.

"The council have been very supportive to us. They're very happy for us to do this because one of their largest costs is maintenance."

Ms Calder, an advice worker, said that she became involved in guerrilla gardening because she did not have a garden of her own.

A gardener plants flowers in a public space in Glasgow
Guerrilla Gardeners cultivate land they do not own

Her companions come from a broad range of backgrounds. A recent "dig" in the Townhead area of Glasgow was attended by professionals, students and families.

Participants cleared ground, planted flowers and threw "seed bombs" - seeds packaged in biodegradable material which breaks down, allowing plants to grow.

And while the gardeners are technically breaking the law, they have found support from Glasgow City Council.

Stevie Scott, from the council's land and environmental services department, said that the council was happy to work with the group.

"Over 1,300 hectares of land is actually unmaintained by the council," he said.

"That equates to 3,200 football pitches' worth of vacant, derelict land in the city.

"My view was that these people were keen to green the city, so I was happy to engage with them."

The council has provided advice and equipment to the group, and has assisted them by helping to clear areas to be cultivated.

The Guerrilla Gardening movement is thought to have begun in New York in the 1970s.

It has since spread, with independent groups operating in countries around the world.

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