The Little Book of Little Gardens

Words: Steve Wheen

We think

The Sun billed him as the Banksy of Guerilla Gardening which gives you the rough idea.  He’s been on Oprah too.  And it’s a nice concept: Australian born Steve Wheen plants random hort-art installations in pavement cracks and pot holes across East London to cheer up his neighbourhood.  Thus was born quite a mini digital industry detailing the exploits of the increasingly famous “thepotholegardener.com“.

For those who have missed the fun so far you can now buy the book, which is small too, and packed not just with tales of little projects in London and  also of sundry sallies abroad to places like Italy and India, where, you might imagine, he was quite a talking point.

Quibble

Steve’s not really that hot on his horticulture so there are far too many gerberas, marguerites and brightly coloured pub plants for our liking.  By far his best installations are those where he has properly paid attention to detail – the miniature washing line was nice with its little gingham tea towels pegged out to dry – and bothered to search for plants beyond the trolleys stacked with cheap pansies on offer outside the supermarket.

And he really does need to get his head around scale.  Nothing wrong with a mini snow scene complete with toboggan and skis but jamming in a few scarlet tulips is just lazy.  Whoever heard of giant fourteen foot tall tulips?   Same annoyance with the armchair and basket of knitting perched on a bed of moss beneath a monster cyclamen. On the other hand he pulls it off perfectly with his little Christmas scene complete with a branch of fir standing in for a full size tree, a heap of tiny carefully wrapped presents finished with tightly curled shiny ribbons and a comfy wooden kitchen chair.

We Love

The London Eye made out of an ivy wreath studded with little pots of flowering daffs representing the pods. Planting up one of many pot holes in Bangalore and exciting avid interest from the local populace