About

The Pothole Gardener project is all about creating unexpected moments of happiness. My little gardens are a respite from the greyness of London. People read all sorts of things into my gardens when they try and rationalise them – something I’m fascinated with, and I’ve made various films about that.

I don’t generally garden on the road, only on the footpaths (I’m not completely mad) and apart from keeping safe, the only rule of pothole gardening is I don’t ever use figures in my gardens. I use a lot of miniatures as part of the project, and as a big part of my work is inspiring peoples imaginations and I find leaving scenes helps provoke the audience.

The project all started as part of my Masters in Design at Central Saint Martins and my first book, The Little Book of Little Gardens, was published by Dokument Press late in 2012. I’ve had a lot written about my work and I’ve put together a little press page here.

People from all around the world have created pothole gardens, and I post them on the blog. I’ve now had so many submissions, I’ve started a dedicated page with some of my favourite submitted gardens.

You can find more of my work at www.stevewheen.com – I’m also the Master Distiller at The Distillery – www.thedistillery.tv where I produce social video content.

If you want to get in touch, drop me a mail: thepotholegardener@yahoo.com

117 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey! I read the article in the Evening Standard today and it really made me smile :) I shared it with my housemate too, and we thought what you’re doing is amazing.

    Fellow UAL student (Camberwell),
    Beckie

  2. What a brilliant idea, for someone who spends his whole working day moaning about the state of London’s roads, and venting my frustration on my blog, your site makes a refreshing change.
    David

  3. Good for you! Lovely to see something cheerful and positive in the news – hope you do some of the radio interview invites that you’re getting. Keep it up!

  4. I love the work that you are doing and I think it speaks volumes about the issues with the roads in the UK. I used to live in a rural area in which had what was claimed to be the worst pot holed road in Britain.

    I know that they only fill them in when they get to a certain size but why wait until they get to that point. You have the right idea of filling in the holes with plants. I hope it catches on and makes a real movement to get the council and government to begin to deal with these issues.

    I think as an art installation I guess it would be classified as your work is amazing.. I really like street art and I don’t think you can get any closer to the street than being in it!

    Amazing work and great job.. When I get a sunny Saturday I might go out and give it a little go myself and will drop you the photos when I do!

  5. Good on you for raising awareness of the problem pot holes, even if the gardener in me winces at the thought of those poor daffs! :-( For anyone interested in more pot hole gardening take a look at what Shannan Spake and Pete Dungey have been doing in Tijuana and Brighton. More info and links to their websites here: http://www.guerrillagardening.org/index.html#potholes

    And if you’re in the mood for guerrilla gardening, think about sowing some sunflowers on 1 May. Thousands already signed up here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=301535539424

    • Hi Richard!

      Thanks for your kind words. I’ve just checked out my partners in crime – I didn’t realise there was a bunch of people getting into the potholes, how cool! I’ll have to get in touch with them!

      Thanks!

      Steve:)

  6. The little chair and book made me smile so wide I thought my lips were going to split!

    If I ever saw these in the road it would brighten my day – I may even make sure they’re watered…

    Al the best
    Charlie (my minute mentor)

  7. Hi, Steve
    I enjoyed your good idea and write a short story about that
    in my blog (wonsoon.com).

    It’s in Korean.
    There was a big response from Korean audience.

    It’s Great

    Park from Korea

  8. This is great! You should visit Ukraine. Here you’ll be able to grow entire flowerbeds — we have terrible roads! ))
    Julia, Kharkov.

  9. Hi – what happy pictures ,

    Spring has certainly sprung in your part of London, you clever lad – graffiti with a purpose, to make people smile, and it certainly does.

    Every one is talking about it and I have not heard one negative comment, and that in it’s self is unusual in what is normally a miserable world.

    So well done you for putting a smile on London’s face

    Best wishes and more power to your trowel – Carol

  10. How wonderful this is!

    You changed bad roads in positive ways.

    Good to see the flowers.

    from Melbourne, Australia.

  11. Good mornig! ((:

    mine is already sunny thanks to you flowers!
    Yes, roads in my contry would also look like a flower carpet!
    but then, it’ll look fantastic from the airplane (:

    i wish you flowers grow big and your inspiration never end (:
    have a good day!

  12. Wow you’ve made the news in Australia too! What a lovely idea :) Do cars drive around them to avoid squashing the flowers? I certainly hope so!

    • Wow? Australia?! I wonder how they found out about my antics?

      Yep…cars squash ‘em…but that’s the nature of the game!

      Thanks for your kind words ;)

  13. hey steve! love what your doing, really cool idea! i’m doing something similar here in dublin- Heres a link to my page :
    guerrillagardeningdublin.wordpress.com

    I’m in art college at the moment, and I’m doing a project on disused urban space, so i started to take some guerrilla gardening action to try repurpose some of the space in the city!

  14. Greetings, Steve!

    Hollows and flowers – your action very interesting and fresh. What do you think of idea to make your action international? All who will be carried out by actions in the countries within the limits of that format which you have thought up, could send you photos on e-mail. Entertaining the report would turn out. We, motorists, from Russia (Kirov area) are ready to support you.
    Recently we have carried out the action in the city “the Road control”. Was are fixed more than 400 hollows on roads. Some hollows such big that in them it is possible to arrange больший beds of colours!

    What do you think about it?
    What flowers you will advise to use?

    With the best regards,
    Sitnikov Artem.
    sitnikov@autosouz.org

  15. Congratulations Steve! Love it!
    I’ve read about in the website of a Brazilian newspaper.
    Keep going to make the HOLES of this world into a beautiful garden.
    Best,
    Neyde

  16. Hola Steve,

    I just wanted to pass by and leave some sunshine on your page :) the same way you leave sunshine for others!!! I absolutely adore your work and think it is so beautiful and inspiring! I would love to get involved and help you out sometime – soOo if you ever want a side kick just let me know :)

    Lots of Love

    Ashley Jane

  17. Just wanted to say hello and let you know you made it to the Melbourne MX newspaper – the equivalent of the London Metro freebie news, hence the Melbourne comments.

    Fantastic work, just the kind of thing to put a smile on peoples face in the morning. Thank you : )

  18. Hello fellow guerilla gardener! Just woke up to a radio report about your project (I#m from Austria). Put a smile on my face – GG works ;)

  19. Amazing and nice!
    That is really great job by the gardener! We have to volunteer ourselves for 2-3 months for road and road side garden plantation! It should make the country most beautiful!

  20. I love this idea, it would bring such a big smile to my face if i saw one of these on the street. The contrast of the beautiful flowers on a not so nice urban street looks amazing. Keep up the good work.

  21. Heya
    I saw a feature on a german tv blog.
    lovely idea! i really like what yar doin!
    keep going :)
    cheers
    ps: we should start that in dublin, it’d need that urgently (that where I live most of the time ;) )

  22. Hi!
    Just saw the piece on you and your site on BBC’s Click… what a fantastic idea! So creative and unique, really is inspired. I love it!! Have already sent links to your site to my friends and family! :) I hope you don’t mind but I have also put a link to you on my blog. Keep up the good work!! And when you’re done with the big smoke, Northampton has loooads for you to come pretti-fy!! “Long Live the Pothole Gardener!!” xx

  23. Just sawour sie on BBC news 24. How cool, love your blog it made me smile. It’s fab to see a sense of fun in what you are doing. You’ld love it where I live there are loads of pot holes that need filling.

  24. HELLO SAINTLY STEVE !

    DIVINE OFFERINGS FOR HOLY SITES

    * PLANT SUCCULENTS
    Store Puddles Of Holy Water

    * PLANT FIRE RETARDANT BONSAI EUCALYPTS
    Salvation From The Hell Of Cigarette Butts

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY + CHRISTINE LEEK !
    Our Devoted Gardener
    +

    Sooleek
    Great Southern Land
    Sydney AUSTRALIA

  25. Hi!
    Just saw BBC’s Click this morning and I believe it is a great idea! It has brought me great memories of my childwood as when I was 11 (21 years ago) my grandparents village (Casconha/Sobreira/Paredes) roads were completely destroyed. Late in the night, after a couple of beers at the local coffee shop (O Bacano)someone raised the subject that his car got damaged in a pothole…uuuhhhhh. One of the farmers said: someone should plant vegetables in the holes that is what should be done! Said and done he got his tractor and all together we filled it with vegetables and earth and for a few miles all the potholes were filled with plants. Althought really it actually started after midnight and did not stop more people of joining, some bringing us food and drink, others staying near the holes and warning the drivers not to destroy them, and it did not take long until the national newspaper (Jornal de Noticias) jornalists arrived and covered the event. After 2 to 3 months the Paredes Council repaired the roads! The event was published but I do not know the exact date, I will try to retrieve it from the Newspaper archives the next time I visit Portugal.

    Good Luck with the movement!
    Henrique

  26. Great idea, made me smile.
    I suggest you add the socila bookmarks plugin to help make it easier for people to share your blog with others and spread the word.

      • UPDATE: We’ve been told for over a year by our County Council that the road would be fixed soon. Then yesterday, less than a week after our pothole gardens appeared in the local paper, my neighbours and I received a letter from the Council telling us that they are starting work on repairing the roads tomorrow…

        Power to the People! :)

        I think I’d rather have it covered in gardens, but alas all the flowers had been squashed within 24 hrs, so an improved road will do instead.

        xHowick St Ladies, Alnwick

    • “starting work on the road tomorrow” That’s great work ladies – it’s amazing how some press can kick the council into action.

      You’re an inspiration.

      Keep me updated! :)

      xx

  27. Hey Steve,

    that’s really great work you are doing in the City!!!

    I saw your work in the German TV and I was so fascinated that I had to visit your blog!
    Go on with your great work!!!

    All the best from Stuttgart/Germany

    Markus

  28. heyyyy i LOVE the idea of this project! i saw you via the 1000 awesome things blog! (one of my fav blogs too) and this is definitely AWESOME! thanks for sharing this inspiration! keep up the good work!

  29. This is awesome. Such an easy way to spread a little beauty in this world, and you do it with style. I look forward to seeing more pictures, I love the little scenes you create.

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  31. … It is a pity that these flowers have to die, because they are beautiful
    … It is a pity that these flowers are so cheap (mass production)
    … It is a pity that we live in a media and stage society

    • … It is great that so many people get to admire the flowers during their brief life
      … It is great that cheery flowers can be afforded by the many and not just the rich
      … It is great that modern communication allows individuals to have a greater voice

  32. Just seen your art on “London Calling” by ARD, German TV. What a lovely idea. I used to live in the East End and always found it a grey and unfriendly area. Thank god, someone tries changing that.

  33. I came across your website through “1000 Awesome Things” and now….I have 2 sites to go to when I need a smile! We have our fair share of potholes in Manitoba, Canada……hhhmmmm…..something to think about!

    Thanks for doing what you do – its AWESOME!

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  35. Hey,

    I think what your doing is not only inspiring and artistic but really cool. The pictures you have on your blog are really good! I like to think of this as Eco-grafitti!

    Yasmin
    Nottingham, UK

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  56. wonderful! I love your creative ideas – they made me smile! Amazing! :-) Keep going!
    Regards from Germany,
    Veronika

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  58. Just read an article about you in a Dutch magazine. Great work, it SO makes me smile. Thanks for being inspiring, keep up the good work, love form Amsterdam,
    Anje

  59. You would be SO happy over here in Venezuela. There’s holes by the trillions!

    Throw me a line if you ever feel like having a South American adventure, we’ll think of something.

  60. What a beautiful labour of love you offer to the world, in your own unique way. We all need to find our own ways of doing the same. Thank you :)

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  63. An incredibly brilliant idea, turning something we all grumble about into something beautiful, even artistic! I tend to have a limited focus in my guerrilla gardening but you’ve inspired me to add perhaps a little something extra to it. I’ll be in touch.

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  68. I heard about you and your work on the 1000 Awesome Things blog I receive in my email, and not to mention I’m a big flowers/gardening fanatic! Which is why I think it is just so AWESOME and INSPIRING what you do!! Props to you for spreading some cheer and happiness for people in East London! How amazing and I’m glad I came across your blog! :)

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