Friday, 18 April 2014

17th April, 2014. Guerrilla Gardening

One of the first things my host, Ivan, said in Brno - as we were standing beside a rotating phallic sculpture in the city square surrounded by bars overflowing with students drinking green beer - was, "I need to go make sure my friends don't end up in jail."

His friends were a group of students and interns, most of the Erasmus kind, who had gathered on a small patch of green in the middle of the city to plant a vegetable garden. As everyone knows, turning up the soil of a public space and pushing in some seeds is considered destruction of public property and can end with two years jail time. While surely interesting, I didn't really plan on witnessing the lush landscapes of a Czech prison this trip so while the students were busy emptying sacks of dirt, Ivan and I stood lookout.

There were activists of all backgrounds, French, German, Swedish, Czech and including one of canine origin, who's speciality was sniffing plants and quality testing materials. Instructions were given out in English and small banter occurred in as many languages as our rows of diverse plant species, cushioned inside the laboured soil. While I tried to stay out of it, two French girls seduced me with their assortment of paint brushes and coloured acrylics. Through their paint splattered brushes they imagined flowers on wood and the words "Welcome to your Garden" once in English and once in Czech. I took up a spare brush and huddled down with them to decorate the sign with with my own flowers.

Once the destruction of property was sufficiently restored, everyone patted each other on the back, snapped a few pictures and headed down to the pub. "Prepare yourself," warned Ivan. "Everything happens in a Brno bar." Unhinging the century old door and creaking down steep planks, we were welcomed by a haze of smoke so thick, the wooden chairs coughed out nicotine when we sat down. Though bad singers swayed on stools, the beer was the most delicious I have ever tasted and so we gladly stayed, drinking Czech beer, chatting, playing pool and learning my first words in their language.


  1. Learning my first words in their language = Co ty píčo? :D