With the news largely reporting the evils of the world, it’s hard to remember the little joys that make up a day. This news report is happily brought to you by me via an abandoned bike in Berlin, Germany.
On quick research of Berlin prior to my visit I came across the term guerilla gardening. These informal gardens emerged specific to West Berlin as a result of their isolation to the rest of Germany post WWII. The innovative and desperate attempts of West Berliners to enliven their part of the city became the subject of my fascination. After 4 unfruitful days of wandering the Berlin streets, I finally happened upon my treasure. There it was… in an abandoned bike… a garden, and why not! The issue of abandoned bikes plague cities across the world. Why not take matters into your own hands and plant some flowers in that ugly bike rotting outside your door – that decrepit bike becomes your front yard.
These “gardens” are not only found in bicycles around the city, they’re also in the sidewalks. Pavers are removed and replaced with fauna. The perpetrators not only improve the curb appeal of their home, but they liven the block in which they live. The city turns a blind eye to such behavior because the only “harm” it is doing is improving the lives of those who pass by and how can you argue with something that good?
You can wait for your government to beautify the city and you can be upset by not having a garden space, but if you don't do anything about it, you will simply be unhappy. These guerilla gardens do not disturb, they enhance. They have skirted the government yet they remain intact. Standing as an asset, they provide to the city and the city easily overlooks a couple of uprooted cobblestones.