Last night 3 friends and I went on a guerrilla gardening mission in Charlottesville. We planted sunflowers throughout the city, at gas stations and restaurants, along the side of the road, in the parking lot of a big strip mall, in front of the police station, and down the main shopping district (an outdoor mall which is the center of town). We each had a cup of seeds and a stick for digging, and we scampered around like bandits. I loved it. I’m excited to go in next month and see which ones are actually coming up (there of course is a high chance of them being “weeded” from the more prominent locations).

One that I’m very excited about in particular is a controversial statue near the center of town that was built to honor Lewis and Clark (do I need to explain who they are? I’ll purport that I’m explaining for the non-US Americans in my readership, and those Americans deficient in US History can read over their shoulders). Lewis and Clark were the leaders of the exploration party that headed beyond the colonized Eastern part of the country, into the “wild” and “untamed” midwest. (almost an oxymoron now, eh??) They had a Native guide, a woman named Sacajawea (or Sacagawea… people disagree on the spelling) who helped them enormously on their journey. The statue in Cville depicts Lewis and Clark standing tall and manly, with Sacagawea cowering behind them. It’s truly appalling, and many people in the city oppose it. It’s been splashed with blood (or red paint, perhaps both), graffitied, and protested in various other ways. And now the precise little flower garden around it will be bursting with sunflowers come June!

I have this image in my mind of these huge sunflowers popping out and reigning over the neatly manicured flowerbeds and miniscule piles of earth throughout the city. Take that, order and landscaping! Ha Ha! Hundreds of sunflowers reminding us about spontenaiety and the joy of disorder.

Inspired? You can get a big bag of sunflower seeds from any local lawn and gardening store. Dump a few handfulls of seeds into your pockets or shoulderbag and head out. I’m going to keep one zippered pocket of my bag filled wherever I go. A short, strong stick works great for digging small trenches to fill with seeds. Bring along a waterbottle for watering, especially when you’re planting in really dry and compacted dirt. Choose your planting locations based on the liklihood of mowing (sad for sunflower sprouts) and weeding. We looked for flowerbeds and planters, and unkept, weedy areas. And I know I said we snuck around like bandits, but that was just for dramatic effect. Really, we acted like we knew what we were doing, like we had every right to be digging in the flower pots outside the police station. One person asked if we were planting pot seeds, and we just smiled and said, “Nope, sunflowers! Want some?”. We handed out seeds to a bunch of people, especially kids, and told them to plant them wherever they wanted to.

Sunflowers for the Revolution!