“Let’s throw some bombs,” a young woman calls out, waterproof floral purse swinging on her shoulder and Laura Ingalls braids flying behind her as a band of 25 followers cheer, “Cool!”As leftie movements go, this one seems pretty harmless and even a little beneficial. A lot of D.C. could use a few flowers.
They rush toward a drab vacant lot in Shaw. Some climb up onto the back of a truck to get better aim at their target. But these bombers aren’t likely to appear on any terrorist list or even get arrested. They’re throwing “seed bombs,” golf-ball-size lumps of mud packed with wildflower seeds, clay and a little bit of compost and water, which they just learned to make at a free seed-bombing workshop for Washington’s guerrilla gardeners.
“Guerrilla gardening is urban gardening and food justice. It’s just this really cool mix,” says Emmy Gran, 25, who is teaching seed-bombing in a floppy sun hat at a recent Saturday morning workshop in the courtyard of Old City Green, a gardening store in Shaw. “But it’s controversial, too. If you see an abandoned, neglected lot and you decide to do something about it by planting vegetables and herbs, are you an occupier? It’s kind of radical, in some ways.”Just don't get upset when some other side walk socialist decides to eat, mow or otherwise destroy your work. If you want to protect it, you need to own the land you do it on.
And every radical movement needs graffiti. Gran hauls out her Cuisinart to make the green “spray-paint” required for gardening activism’s biodegradable moss graffiti. Ingredients: moss, a half teaspoon of sugar and beer or yogurt which, when blended, will stick to walls. (“You can also use buttermilk,” she adds.) With a light rain starting to fall, the group walks over to a curb near the garden store and uses the gloppy mixture to write “Nourish, Grow, Shaw” in big, moss-green letters.Georgia is trying the yogurt and moss trick on a part of our lawn that's too shady for grass to grow well. We'll see how that works
Guerrilla gardeners say every day is sunflower-planting day. “When you live in the city and you see a space that’s yucky, you can make it more beautiful,” says Theresa Blaner, 33, who writes the blog D.C. Guerilla Gardeners. Like most guerrilla gardeners, she’s never been arrested for it.There's always another day.
“But it would be awesome to have a [police] record for gardening,” she laughs.