Page 3 Profile: Human Shrub, eco-activist


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The Independent Online

Someone looks like they’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards…

Meet the Human Shrub. This enigmatic eco-warrior has warned he will be “a thorn in the side” of anyone who seeks to threaten the precious green spaces of Essex.

Sowing the seeds of discontent?

The Human Shrub – also known as Shrubby – first surfaced in 2009 in a protest against Colchester council’s plan to turf over rose beds to save money. His grassroots campaign resulted in a U-turn. “We must stop politicians spoiling this town, putting future generations of my friends, the bees, at risk,” he said at the time.

Has he resumed his duties?

It seemed Shrubby had hung up his gardening gloves – or perhaps moved on to pastures new – but he made a comeback recently when he sent a gift to the borough councillor, Dave Harris, who is leading a campaign to improve and sustain the local environment by growing more flowers and trees.

How thoughtful.

“I received this muddy envelope with a letter, which said: ‘Dear Mr Harris, please help these flowers grow and keep Colchester blooming, signed, the Human Shrub’,” the bemused recipient told the BBC.

He doesn’t beat around the bush…

Mr Harris said: “There was about £70 of seeds inside including marigolds and dahlias.” He added: “I quite like the idea; he’s got the Colchester community at heart and he’s doing something positive.”

But who on Earth is the unkempt benefactor?

His identity remains a closely-guarded secret, but it is thought the man, from Colchester, is in his mid-forties. He has previously revealed his interests include “sunbathing and people watching”, and his favourite music is “morning birdsong”.