As a garden blogger, there are a couple of topics I tend to shy away from because opinions on both sides of the topic are so strong. Cats, for instance. Many gardeners love cats in the garden. Others feel just as strongly against them. Same thing with deer.
And a third topic, and one that has been getting a little bit of “news play” lately, is seed bombs and guerilla gardening. Normally, I would stay away from this controversial topic, too. Except for the fact that I think that seed bombs can be harmful to the environment.
I wrote about guerrilla gardening back in February of 2011. I admit that part of my problem with both guerrilla gardening and seed bombs are the words, themselves. (Back in my hippy days, I used to get together with a group of people that discussed things like words that brought violent thoughts to mind, and those two words just do, to me.)
Anyway, Frederick Maryland resident Brian Slagle has been in the newspaper and even on TV lately because of the seed bombs that he makes and sells online and at local stores. Apparently, they are a hot item for Christmas.
I was ALMOST swayed to change my opinion about seed bombs when I was reading the article about him on CBS Baltimore.com. I read about how these bombs of wildflower seeds, thrown into vacant lots and bare land, can attract bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. ‘Ahhhh,’ I thought. ‘More hummingbirds and bees and butterflies!’
But here is my concern with seed bombs. The whole point of seed bombs are to grow things on other people’s property. The online video on TBD.com even shows a picture of Slagle’s kids throwing the bombs onto a piece of property bearing a sign that says Private Property – No Dumping Allowed. WHAT IF THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THAT PROPERTY DON’T WANT THE PLANTS THERE AND USE CHEMICAL HERBICIDES TO KILL THEM? Even using a gas mower to mow the plants down puts pollutants into the air. And if the local government comes in to mow or clean up the property, who do you think pays for that?
I do understand the principle behind taking over a vacant lot and planting vegetables or other plants, IF YOU TAKE responsibility for the care and maintenance of the plants. But seed bombs are something else all together.
My suggestion for seed bombs is this: Plant native plants on your property to attract birds. They will eat the berries and seeds and create their own seed bombs when they poop them out across the city.
And if you want to spread the joy and beauty of flowers, by giving seed bombs or other seed packets, encourage people to plant them in their own yard. If they want to know more about the joys or gardening for bees, butterflies or hummingbirds, I’ll be happy to tell them.