” I am lucky enough to live in a very pleasant , tree-lined street but at one end it had become an eye-sore, for which nobody seemed to be responsible. The exit onto the main road (a dangerous blind corner) had been blocked off to vehicles many years ago but remained open to pedestrians as an unmade path: tarmac was only laid when it became a designated cycle route. Undergrowth flourished at the side of the cycle track and fly-tipping and litter accumulated.
I had long wanted to do something to improve matters and had surreptitiously planted a few tough shrubs (Buddleia, Cotoneaster) in the hopes of gradually screening the ugliness, but I hesitated to tackle the piles of rubbish because , with no car, I had no means of disposing of it. But with Merton’s ‘Big Spring Clean’ advertised for the beginning of March I seized my chance. I contacted the Council and arranged to receive a delivery of official sacks (and obtained a promise that the filled sacks would be collected the following day) and then set about finding a team of volunteers. I wrote about 20 cards of invitation (‘Let’s do our bit for the Merton Spring Clean’) and delivered them selectively to likely neighbours: it helped that I have lived in the same street for 40 years. I suggested that we meet on site between 11am and 1pm on Sunday March 5th and was relieved and delighted when six adults and two small children turned up.
It took us three hours rather than two, but we cleared the whole area, bagged up all the rubbish and dug out large quantities of invasive Green Alkanet ( while making a considered decision to leave the dandelions for the time being.)
Everyone is pleased, many people have thanked us and plans are already afoot to plant more shrubs and hardy herbaceous, while the children have made a ‘bug hotel’ and sowed seeds. Spontaneous guerrilla gardening in fact!”