Northampton 'mystery' gardener on a 'free food' mission

Zoe Smith with garden Image copyright Zoe Smith
Image caption Zoe Smith said she hoped the gardens would be a "mini free food resource" for residents in the street

A "mystery" gardener who has been planting flowers and vegetables along a town centre street said she was doing it "just to add a bit of cheer".

Zoe Smith, a Northampton borough councillor, said she had been gardening along Stimpson Avenue for about a year.

Ms Smith, who walks to work along the road with a watering can, said she "thought it would be fun to create a mini free food resource" for residents.

She buys the plants herself and tends them in her spare time, she said.

Ms Smith began her "guerrilla gardening" with a fellow green-fingered friend, county councillor Danielle Stone.

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At first they planted the soil around the base of some trees in the Abington road where Ms Smith lives.

Image caption Residents on Stimpson Avenue in Northampton have been delighted with the mystery vegetables and flowers

She then moved on to other "unloved" areas along the street.

As well as flowers, she is growing tomatoes, runner beans and beetroot.

Image caption One resident said the street "would be very stark and very bare and unwelcoming" without the vegetable patches

"I was a little surprised to see I was 'a mystery' as I tend to do this in broad daylight and at the weekends," Ms Smith said.

"I just do it to brighten the area a bit and it does help to get people engaged. Lots stop and chat, which is really nice.

"Just the other day I passed a schoolboy and heard him say to his mum, 'I wonder where the next guerrilla garden will pop up?', which I thought was lovely," she added.

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