Ka-BLOOM!

seed bomber by Banksy

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Seed bombs of discontent.

It’s a crime to step on private property and plant a flower.
You can be arrested for trespassing, vandalism, or littering.
But it’s also criminal the way that some private property owners neglect unused land, allowing an empty lot to become a barren, inhospitable blight on a neighborhood.

Subversive as Robin Hood, with the green thumb of a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, guerilla gardeners practice civil disobedience through random acts of gardening. They aim to reverse neglect, create public awareness, engage communities, and reclaim forgotten pockets of fertility within urban landscapes.

The guerilla gardener’s weapon of choice is the seed bomb.
Seed bombs are compressed balls of compost and soil that have been impregnated with the seeds of hardy, native plants like wildflowers and edible herbs. They are intended to be launched anonymously into urban spaces that need sprucing up like empty lots, parking meridians, and sidewalk cracks. Each seed bomb contains everything needed for the seeds to germinate and thrive with the addition of water.

Seed bombs have come a long way since 1973 when the first highly publicized acts of modern guerrilla gardening took place in New York City.
Early seed bomb were made from materials like condoms, glass Christmas tree ornaments, balloons, and egg shells—basically anything on hand that could serve as a vehicle to aerially transport a ball of seeds and plant nutrients. Most seed bombs today are encased in eco-friendly materials like wood and paper pulp or papiermâché.

The guerilla gardening subculture can be found in cities from coast to coast, and has popped up in the urban centers of Europe, Canada, and Asia. Seed bombs are no longer strictly a homemade affair. You can buy them on Etsy and from fashionable retailers like Anthropologie. Common Studio has repurposed old gumball machines to create quarter-operated seed bomb vending machines that they are placing in schools, bars, parks and markets. As new vendors are added, Common Studio will tailor unique seed mixes and develop bombing strategies to suit local ecologies. An online map tracks vending locations and seed bomb deployments around the country.

Here are some resources to help you join the anarchic fringe of horticulture:

Guerilla Gardening.org has a guide to the various forms and functions of seed bombs.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center maintains a complete database of native plants of North America.

Will seed bombing get you busted? Good offers some surprising (nonbinding, fully-disclaimed) answers.

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One Response to Ka-BLOOM!

  1. Monet says:

    What a great Banksy image. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before! My anarchist friends probably already do this…but I’m sending the link anyway! Thank you for sharing, my friend. I hope you have a wonderful Friday…and an even better weekend.

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