Photo Credit: Tyler Leigh Vivier

Evenly spaced bright sunflowers line the highway leading up to OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg which could mean a Guerrilla gardener is behind it.


Johannesburg, South Africa (18 January 2021) – Guerrilla gardeners are like graffiti artists but with a life-changing cause. A Guerrilla gardener turns public abandoned or neglected land into beautiful spaces.

From planting food gardens to boosting pollinator flowers and grafting trees. The definition of a Guerrilla Gardner is as follows:

“Guerrilla gardening is the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to cultivate, such as abandoned sites, areas that are not being cared for, or private property. It encompasses a diverse range of people and motivations, ranging from gardeners who spill over their legal boundaries to gardeners with political influences who seek to provoke change by using guerrilla gardening as a form of protest or direct action.”

“Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden in an effort to make the area of use and/or more attractive. Some garden at more visible hours for the purpose of publicity, which can be seen as a form of activism.”

Many Joburgers will have noticed the very unkept state of our roadside verges and islands. So it was a delight to witness a stretch of sunflowers that have been scattered along the R24 towards the OR Tambo Airport. Had the local municipality cut the tall grass along this route the sunflowers would not be so present and beautiful.

It is unclear the motivation of the person responsible for the sunflowers. It could be they are highlighting how the area has yet to have been tidied or they are adding some colour to their daily commute; they could be trying to feed all the local seed-eater birds and making bees happy or it might not be human intervention at all and birds just have really great aim when dropping their poops.

One can only assume that someone drove with their hand out the window, letting sunflower seeds fly off into the grass island of the fast lane.

Photo Credit: Tyler Leigh Vivier

Whatever the reason, seeing the sunflowers brought great joy. Have you seen them? Or any other cool Guerrilla gardening things happening around South Africa?

We have been loving sharing all the good news gardening stories so if you want to read more, you can find them here.

Sources: Good Things Guy / Wikipedia
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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