Seedbombs: Going Wild with Flowers
28th April, 2011
Josie Jeffery’s opus is a call to arms for gardeners and the community spirited alike, says Ruth Styles
Few books can be summed up in a single word but Josie Jeffery’s Seedbombs: Going Wild with Flowers is one of them. What’s the word? That would be charming. Charmingly written, charmingly pretty illustrations and most important of all, an utterly charming idea. Not that the concept of seed bombing is entirely Jeffery’s own, although she has expanded on it. No, as Seedbombs illustrates, seed bombing has a long and interesting history. And despite hippyish connotations, they aren’t just for dreadlocked types. As the book makes plain, seed bombing is something everyone can do.
So what is a seedbomb? As Jeffery explains, making them means mixing some seeds with a bit of compost and water, then forming it into little balls which can then be launched at whatever patch of soil you fancy. Because the seeds already have their own little starter pack (plus protection courtesy of the compost) they’re much more likely to flourish. It’s also much more fun than bog standard seed sprinkling and great for getting children involved in gardening. The real beauty of seed bombing though, is its potential to transform local eyesores into something spectacular, along with the community spirit it engenders. Witness, for instance, the train driver whose purple foxglove seedbombs are livening up the journeys of thousands of commuters. Other committed seedbombers include groups such as Glasgow Guerrilla Gardening (strapline: Resistance is Fertile) and London’s guerrilla gardening ‘cells’. Both have organised seed bombing campaigns, which have transformed derelict building sites and shabby roundabouts; boosting community pride into the bargain. And of course, as Jeffery notes, thousands of gardens have been beautified thanks to the power of the seedbomb.
The book itself has plenty of information on ways to get involved but also has an entertaining list of do’s and don’ts, some obvious (seedbombs are not a weapon) and some not (try vegetables). It’s also got a number of seedbomb recipes – yes, there are more than one – and some quirky seed combos. How about turning your local derelict building site into a healing garden for example? Jeffery has some botanical suggestions along with a useful key that covers such things as the plant’s conservation status, its uses and the likelihood of it taking over the entire area. Not every plant is an obvious choice either. Yes, there’s a page on poppies and another on purple foxglove, but there’s also one on the prettily named Betony and also on quirkier species such as Lady’s Bedstraw. Jeffery, a professional gardener by trade, also provides plenty of handy hints for less-than-green fingered, although experienced gardeners might find them a bit simplistic. But then, this isn’t really a book for the gardening obsessive. Instead it’s a call to arms for the amateur planter and the community spirited to get out and beautify the local area using seedbombs as the weapon of choice. Gardener’s World it ain’t but Big Society in action? Definitely. Watch and learn, David Cameron.
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