I've just spent a few moments reading about June Turnbull a 79-year-old Guerrilla Gardening pensioner who has come under the scrutiny of the nanny state. She hasn't come under the watchful eye of the Wiltshire county council because she's on a terrorists watch list- her crime is that she's operating "without the necessary "Section 96" safety licence" as she tends to a flower bed on public land. For those of us not versed in bureaucracy this means that she doesn't have a permit to garden on public land, she's not wearing an orange safety vest, she doesn't have a look out and there aren't signs warning motorists work being done ahead.
According to the article by the BBC she has been tending to this flower bed for the past six years, the Daily Mail reports she's been doing it for eight years. For between 6-8 years June Turnbull has been biking for a half-mile from her home to the roadside planter to work in violation of "Section 96" without anyone noticing. Two years ago Urchfont won the title of Best Kept Village in Wiltshire which residents credit to June's commitment to the flower bed. I assume the county council must have been aware of winning this award-perhaps they thought the county council fairies were responsible for the garden that sprang from nowhere.
I understand the need for safety especially where someone of June's age is concerned. It would be a travesty to hear that she was hurt in some way while working to beautify her community and participate in a hobby she obviously loves. In an effort to ensure for her safety has the county taken into consideration that Mrs Turnbull has been disabled since contracting polio in her youth? If the "Men At Work" signs in England are anything like the ones in here in Chicago I don't understand how they think she would be able to manage to drag three of those around on her bike since she tends to the planter when she can spare a few moments.
Part of me hopes that she continues to work on the garden she created and violates "Section 96" but I also want her to remain safe so she has many more years of guerrilla gardening ahead of her. This weekend in solidarity with June Turnbull I will go and plant something in violation of "Section 96" and I will do so without an orange vest and signs about work being done ahead. I'll also write to the Wiltshire County Council and ask that she be given some leeway because from the quotes in the Daily Mail article she sounds ready to spend time in jail. Lets hope it doesn't come to that.