It's official the Law is an Ass - at least it is in the overly litigious USA! Following on from my post yesterday about converting our front yard into our productive zone I came across the most absurd incidence of law breaking in Oak Park, Michigan, USA.
At first I thought it may have been because she had planted on the nature strip causing an obstacle to pedestrians (thinking of course if this were the case the Council would have no doubt been scared of the obvious implications of people suing for accidents caused by a stray tomato or bean...) BUT Julie Bass had done no differently to me and put in five raised planter beds in which to grow her vegies in her OWN front yard!
The argument from the city planners are that local codes require front yards to have only “suitable” live plant material. Ummm I'm confused as to what the so called "suitable" plant material might be. In an interview with Detroit News, City planner Kevin Rulkowski said, "a tomato vine on a tomato cage is just not attractive... Add that to the big wooden boxes. It's not the first impression people often put in front of their home ... or want to see in their neighborhood." Then the comment that I nearly choked on, "I don't know of any community where I have seen a full garden in the front yard. In planing and zoning, we try and put things in appropriate places." (Obviously he hasn't come across many Italain/Greek suburban gardens)
So, from this I'm perplexed about a couple of things:
1. Am I going to face a law suit for choosing to grow vegetables in the most appropriate position on my property?
2. What constitutes "suitable live material"?
3. In Kevin Ruklowski and his fellow colleagues minds what constitutes a "full garden"?
If someone dared tell me how and what I should be gardening in my own front yard I'd swiftly show them the gate via the pointy end of my boot, with a gentle nudge from my gardening fork just to make sure they got the hint!
What about you - would you dare???
~Image via Log House Plants (wouldn't you know it they happen to be a nursery specialising in edible and ornamental plants! ...in Oregon, USA - I wonder if they sell them with a warning sticker about where they're allowed to be planted?)