Filling potholes with The Pothole Gardener
We managed to speak to guerilla gardener Steve Wheen from The Pothole Garden about his work, how he finds inspiration and why he creates pothole gardens, as well as the benefits of gardening. Check out our interview below!
Our interview with The Pothole Gardener
1. Your project involves planting miniature gardens in potholes to create unexpected moments of happiness. How do you think this helps to create happiness?
The project is all about turning something that annoys people and making it a little bit brighter. Potholes annoy everyone – cyclist, drivers, and pedestrians. My little gardens surprise people and make them smile.
2. What has the general reaction to your pothole gardens been?
In a big city like London, people are always so busy. They walk around with their heads down, looking at their phones, not really making eye contact with other people. My gardens make people stop for a moment. They make people smile…their reactions are overwhelmingly positive.
3. Do you have a particular area you focus on with the gardens or is it more of an “as you see the opportunity” approach?
I generally find potholes as I cycle around the city…then I’ll go back and plant some gardens when I’ve got some plants to hand.
4. You mention on your blog that you tend to leave scenes using miniature models, but you don’t use figures in your gardens. What sort of scenes do you create, and why don’t you include miniature figures?
I like to create little scenes that tell stories – whether that’s around a royal wedding or Christmas! I don’t use figures as there is something about using miniatures which unlocks people's imaginations, so I like to leave them open to people's imagination.
5. Has your work inspired other people to experiment with their own miniature gardens, in potholes or otherwise?
Yes, that has been one of my favourite parts of the projects! I’ve had pothole gardens sent to me from all over the globe.
6. How do you think gardening, in general, helps create happiness?
Gardening is such a great stress reliever. It takes you into the fresh air, you move around and most importantly you are creating something with your hands which is something so many of us have lost touch with in modern life.
7. What other benefits can be found from gardening?
I really think that one of the main benefits of gardening is creating something, be that something tiny in a pothole, or something massive, the act of planning, brainstorming and then creating is awesome.
8. Do you think your work, and the work of other gardeners, is helping to encourage a community spirit around gardening or even encourage communities to set up their own projects?
I really hope so! This project has taught me so much about the spirit of community gardening, and how incredibly important it is.