Richard Reynolds

Planting Inspiration at Morley

For the first Penny Lecture of the summer series Morley was pleased to welcome Guerrilla Gardener Richard Reynolds who last night gave a passionate, inspiring talk to a packed Emma Cons Hall.

In his lecture Richard spoke about the origins of guerrilla gardening in New York in the 1970s and the legacy that still remains there today. For him, it started in 2006 when he set up his website to record his hobby of gardening in London but which soon became a global movement.

Richard discussed what inspires people to start guerrilla gardening, whether it is a form of public expression or protest, like gardeners in the Ukraine protesting the state of the roads by planting flowers in the potholes. Or people gardening for social entertainment like the guerrilla gardeners in Bologna, Italy who organise big digs to encourage the local community to get involved. Then there are those who guerrilla garden for the sheer joy of gardening, with most people likely to fall in all three categories.

One of the early gardens Richard looked after (and still does) is the traffic island outside Morley College, full of lavender, tulips, strawberries and raspberries. In total Richard looks after eleven gardens around Morley covering both Lambeth and Southwark Council areas. He discussed the challenges of working with councils and government bodies and what happens when you’re stopped by police at 2am when gardening adding, “plants are very disarming. Always have one with you!”

This lecture forms part of the College’s 125th anniversary celebrations and is one of a series of lectures that have taken place this year. Other speakers include the Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, feminist writer Caroline Criado-Perez and historian Professor Jerry White.

Our final lecture of this academic year will be with BBC Radio 3 present Rob Cowan on Friday 24 July, discussing musicians caught in the midst of serious conflict entitled, Musicians in the Shadow of War and Tyranny.

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