The Pothole Gardener, real name Steve Wheen, was holding a mini event in Shoreditch London on Monday, teaching anybody who wanted to come along how to create their own pothole gardens. This was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse, so I ditched my desk at Anglian and went along to create a little garden on the streets of London.
We met up on Shoreditch high street at the pop-up Kopparberg pub to find out what the guerrilla gardener had in store for us. There was only 5 or 6 of us meaning it was a very intimate day of pothole gardening; we created some proper beauties that had passers-by stopping and admiring.
Steve is one of the nicest people I have met, greeting everyone with a humbled handshake and being open to ideas from others as well as being eager to share his own. We had a great chat about where to visit in his home country of Australia, where is great to go and sympathised with each other’s fear of flying, sharing flight nightmares, which Steve seems to have experienced a lot of.
We set off down Shoreditch high street, equipped with small potted plants, miniature lawns and props to make up our gardens. One friend of Steve’s had even brought along his own props… 4 gnomes and some miniature Koi carp! He made the first garden, incorporating his little goodies and created a pretty garden. It was strange to start off with as no-one had ever done this except Steve. People were having to shuffle around us on the curb, but they were intrigued to see what was going on; why did we have cameras and flowers; what would we do with them?
We created five gardens in total around Shoreditch, bringing some much needed natural colour to the grey, industrialised high street. I was particularly pleased with my little pothole garden, as it is quite good for someone who has no experience in gardening! I managed to incorporate a ladder and bird-box, as well as dropping a miniature copy of Steve’s book, A Guide to Pothole Gardening, into the garden. What do you think of my little garden?
In our small group, we wandered around Shoreditch finding the perfect spot for yet more pothole gardens. We took to some back streets, most of which were trawled with some extravagant graffiti, but there were potholes galore. We quickly found another space for our next creation; as Kopparberg were sponsors of the event, Steve had made tiny bottles of Kopparberg to place in the gardens. This next garden had a cider loving squirrel and was placed outside the rear entrance to a restaurant.
After we had made these little bursts of natural colour on the black tarmac, we wandered back to the pop-up pub, stopping at a distance from each garden to watch how people reacted. It was quite bizarre! I loved watching peoples faces as they marched around in the ever present rush of London, but as they approached one of our gardens, they would look to the ground in confusion, before a smile breaks loose and they manoeuvre around the rare patch of greenery. In all of the hustle and bustle of the big city, I think people appreciate seeing something unusual on their way to work and quite enjoy the burst of colour.
On arrival of the pop-up pub, Steve made four little ornaments for the bar, which showed off not only the sponsors Kopparberg, but also a shrunken version of Steve’s book. His book is launched on 15th November in London so make sure you visit his website for more details and why not purchase a copy to see more of his amazing work, which includes Olympic gardens and Milan Fashion week gardens. You could even have a go at creating a pothole garden yourself, just remember to share a picture with us!
The only disheartening detail about the day was on my walk back to the tube station I had to go past where my little pothole garden was…only when I got to where it should have been this is all that was left;
I am sure someone will be appreciating this creation in their own back garden.