Operation Ivy League

You have heard of Guerrilla gardening right?  It’s all about people surreptitiously planting in places that are less than hospitable.   Operation: Ivy League makes a slightly more focused effort, but one that I think could be applied more widely.

“Travel to the City of London on a Monday morning and you will become absorbed into the hustle and bustle of a monstrous pin-striped machine. Individuality is frowned upon as is dawdling and looking lost or confused. Towering buildings glare down at you and heighten your sense of helplessness. Those unaccustomed to the pace and flow of city life may often feel a sensation of drowning when first entering its confines. To conquer the fear and succeed or to escape offers your only salvation. Return to the same place on the following Sunday and the place takes on an entirely different tone. The buildings still loom, still whisper their mantra, but without the thousand-tiny suited cogs they lose some of their potency. Turning through the winding backstreets you begin to notice signs of another sort of life. Tiny weeds creep through cracks in the paving stones, moss covers drainpipes and spiders lie in wait for dinner in dark corners. Slowly but surely nature is pushing through in a quiet revolt to regain what it once controlled. On a Sunday afternoon you can feel the City begin to breathe again.”

winter garden at the northern club

The Ivy League encourages the planting and nurturing of ivy growth on corporate architecture. Ivy-clad buildings are generally associated with academic pursuits, thoughtfulness and idyllic countrysides, so the idea to cover the concrete jungle with actual jungle is a hope for distraction from hardened pursuits and additionally an encouragement of  birds, butterflies and other wildlife to the area.

This (including the actual adventures of sneaking into the city and finding homes of dozens of baby ivy) and other clever ideas for bringing a little more nature into seemingly unnatural environments can be found at Stories From Space.

image from archdaily.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

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