Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Guerilla Gardeners vs. Big Rail

Hullo blogger pals! It is an early morning in Vancouver, and I am off to explore the nearby community gardens. It is always cool to see what people are growing. I get some good ideas to take back home.

Heh-heh... Aren't these cute fence pickets? They made them look like bird houses!

Here we are... Cypress Community Gardens. They have a mix of vegetables and flowers and the bees love it here.

Meh... A while ago, Little Fox told me I should ignore "No Trespassing" signs... so I'll do just that! There is a pathway along the railway (which hasn't been used in 20 years by a train) where people walk their dogs and admire the gardens.

Oh yes... Danger... sometimes the invasive Himalayan blackberries reach out and try to drag you into their depths!

Umm... what HAPPENED???!!!! Oh my goodness. The gardens have been destroyed, demolished, devastated!

But... what... why... what is going on?

It used to look like this... and some of it still does but...

Mama what is going on???

Well, it is a long and sad story. Do you want to hear it? This rail corridor is called the Arbutus rail corridor and as I mentioned the railway hasn't used it in 20 years. They have been trying to sell it to the city for $$$$ but the city only wants to pay $$$ because they aren't going to build on it but turn it into park land. The railway got snotty and said that they had to do their annual right-of-way brush clearing. Now... over the last 20 years, various community gardens have sprung up along the rail corridor - partly on city land and partly on railway land. Over the last year, people have been fighting to stop the railway from demolishing their gardens and using nasty pesticides on the brush. It went to court and the people lost and Big Rail won.... so they brought in their bulldozers and went to work. That was a couple of months ago.

Yup, a couple of months ago... and look at the weeds! Can you tell where the railway is?? Nope, neither can I. Gee... maybe they should come back and do it again?? (slight hint of little bear sarcasm.. as only a little bear can do).

Oh... there's a rail line...

Interesting that the railway hacked back everything to the right of the railway (where the gardens were) but didn't do anything to the blackberries to the left...

Another view... from the other direction... I really do detest the destruction of prime bee habitat! Oh... and some gardens did have bee hives... they are now gone.

So where there were once gardens, there is now bare ground that is being colonized by weeds...

And big piles of junk left by Big Rail.

But... part of the gardens were on city land and so they are smaller but still there.

Which just goes to show you how resilient people are...

Which side would you prefer?

Heh-heh... look at all that lettuce and kale!

Now... speaking of resilience.... the torn up gardens have been bulldozed, driven on and turned upside down. But guess what... plants are even more resilient than people. Here's a patch of comfrey trying to make a go of it again in the wasteland.

A bunch of baby kale...

A raspberry trying to start over.

Chives are tough little critters...

As are irises...

Oh... poor iris! Somebody should do something to save these plants from this wasteland!


And peonies that got squished by a rock but gamely struggling to survive...

Someone thought the middle of the rail line would be a good place to dump a pile of rocks...

All this little bear has to say to Big Rail is...

Shame on you.


I would rather see neat, tidy gardens that are being productive than a wasteland of weeds and mud.

Just my preference of course. Some people call the gardeners squatters. Guess they like weeds too...

As for this little bear... I made sure we adopted a few plants from the wasteland (but not from the remaining gardens!). So I guess you could say... we stole from railway land.

Guerilla Sandy signing off...


  1. Replies
    1. I thought you might! I need a camouflage head-band or something...

    2. Talk to Droopy about that.

    3. Going against a big Canadian institution seems like a big endeavor. Thankfully other Canadian institutions do good things. For example I haven't heard of any Tim Horton's, Canadian Tire stores, or Roots stores tearing down gardens.

    4. Oh yes... Droop would have some good camo gear!

      As for Timmies... sigh... they have TV screens in their "restaurants" and were showing advertisements for the Enbridge Pipeline (slated for central/northern BC)... uproar ensued... ads were pulled. Only to have northern Alberta (tar sands) rise up against the pulling of the ads.

    5. I'll look for something next time I visit the Army surplus...

    6. Who knew that Timmies would be part of such a contraversy.

  2. I'm sure there's an old green karkee t-shirt somewhere that your mummy doesn't wear any more that you could use!!!

    1. Well.... Mama does have a grey and white camo t-shirt but she says it is her gardening t-shirt... Do you think she would notice if a teensy thin strip was cut off the bottom of the back?

    2. I say it's better to ask forgiveness than permission :)