Defiant Gardening

1942, London, a bomb crater becomes a garden.
Officer Brook Turner tends to his lawn in a US army camp near Baghdad, 2004
Photo: Neil Sperry

All credit to everyone else for this post. I've had to do very little but re-present it, which I normally hate doing, but this deserves it. Really fantastic stuff.

Thanks to Scott Webel at the Museum of Ephemerata for his email way back in the summer after he looked at my Tanks & Tablecloths site and suggested that I might be interested in Alexander Trevi's post on Pruned, I discovered something called defiant gardening. The Pruned text will also lead you to Ketzel Levine's article for NPR and where it all began - with Kenneth Helphand's book Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime.

It's a lovely concept - albeit associated with the grizzly horrors of war. Helphand's book demonstrates that both soldiers and civilians caught in the chaos and destruction of war will - in what could be viewed as an act of defiance - struggle to create natural spaces, in which they can tend vegetable gardens but also nurture a need to exert some control over a situation that is often way out of control.

Belgium, 1918, a soldier paints trees on the side of his army hut.
Source: Imperial War Museum

2003, Ingushetia (Russia), a Chechnyan woman tends a white-stone garden.
Photo: Simon Norfolk

1990-91, during the Gulf War a green tarp forms a lawn, pinned down with sand-bags.
Photo: Don Smith