Under the cover of night, gardeners in L.A. and London are taking to the streets, turning traffic medians and empty lots into lush gardens.

This is me (a couple years ago) making a surprise delivery of plants to a local business.

Several years ago we ran a program here in Burlington, Vt., which we dubbed “Random Acts of Gardening”. Our staff planted up about 30 self-watering planters with a mix of flowers and vegetables, and then we drove around town, dropping them off at various homes and businesses.

It was a lot of fun driving around town, visiting places such as the local fire station and a favorite deli, leaving off pots of colorful plants.

It’s great to read about similar, but much bigger efforts, happening in urban areas near and far. A recent article in the L.A. Times focused on a gardener named Scott, who has spent the past several years surreptitiously planting gardens on L.A. traffic medians. He does his gardening at night or very early in the morning to avoid being detected by the police or other city officials, though the article reveals that there are lots of city officials who admire and would like to meet these urban beautification experts, sometimes referred to as guerilla gardeners.

In fact, there’s a site called guerrillagardening.org that’s inspiring people in London, Berlin, Miami, San Francisco and elsewhere to take to the streets with plants. The site features stories and videos, and gets about 45,000 visitors a month!

The L.A. times article includes a neat recipe for making “seed bombs” by mixing wildflower seeds with clay and forming them into balls that can be planted on the run. In fact, the woman in the how-to slide show says she plants her seed bombs by making a hole with the 3” heel on her shoes and then just drops in a seed bomb.

If you’d like to start up a “random acts of gardening” project in your town, here’s a bumper sticker to help you spread the word!

If you know people who are using their love of gardening to beautify a public space, restore a natural area, feed the hungry or teach gardening skills, please consider nominating them for one of our Garden Crusader Awards.

-Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening