Guerrilla Gardening: Now This Goes Too Far

by Fern on July 10, 2008

in Uncategorized

I posted earlier about my hesitancy in supporting guerrilla gardening. It’s one thing when a blighted garden is being beautifued without the owner’s permission, especially if the land is public property. But it is a whole other thing to change the garden of someone who is properly maintaining their property. I’m sorry, but this is just plain old vandalism:

This rocks. Sandy, a guerrilla gardener in Portland, Oregon, decided to modify her local Mercedes dealership’s “landscaping” [by making the Mercedes sign into a peace sign]. Possibly the best use of a strategically placed boxwood hedge ever. Love it!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea (Heavy Petal) July 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

You seem to be assuming that all vandalism is bad! I don’t see any problem with this whatsoever. Nothing’s been removed, or damaged. Just creatively altered.


Fern July 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Andrea–Maybe this is just my legal background speaking, but changing someone else’s property without their permission *is* always bad, not to mention illegal. And Mercedes has been damaged, they have to pay someone to remove the alteration to their boxwood logo. To employ a simplistic argument, how would you feel if you spent a lot of time cultivating your garden and then someone came in the middle of the night and changed your garden? I suspect most people would feel violated by the idea that someone was in their yard making changes the owner didn’t authorize.


Sanone August 9, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I know this is an old thread, but someone just sent it to me. Fern I understand your “legalistic” point. However as to your simplistic argument, it fails on a couple of levels, for one, being a keen gardener my self, I would not have a problem with someone making a non destructive donation of plant matter to my garden, also there is a big difference between someone coming into the yard of a private home and a case like this where the shrub was right next to a public walkway.
According to the American Heritage dictionary vandalism is:

Willful or malicious destruction of public or private property.

I don’t think this qualifies.


Fern August 9, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Sanone–While you may think my arguments are simplistic, yours are incorrect. There is no shadow of a doubt in my mind that these gardeners trespassed on someone else’s property and vandalized it. Quite frankly, the American Heritage dictionary has no bearing on legal definitions of crimes. Neither does the fact that the landscaping that was altered was near a public walkway. Finally, it also doesn’t matter that you wouldn’t mind if people came into your yard and added plant material. The fact of the matter is that people shouldn’t take it upon themselves to disrupt the landscaping on someone else’s property, and that adding a plant to make a mercedes sign into a peace symbol is the same, legally speaking, as if the person had used spray paint, or etched something into their window.


Sanone August 10, 2009 at 11:02 pm


I guess we really see things differently, but at least we both like to garden.

(PS, I only said your argument was simplistic because you did, no offense intended)


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