Thursday, July 28, 2011

Higgins: Beware of the garden police

Have you read about the mother who was arrested for planting a vegetable garden?

Well, the veggie garden was in her front yard, and a local ordinance in a ritzy Detroit suburb required front yards to be of “grass, ground cover, shrubbery or other suitable live plant material.” Apparently vegetables weren’t “suitable live plant material.”

Don’t get too upset because the case was dismissed. But such laws abound. And this week’s “Gardening” column by Adrian Higgins of the Washington Post takes a look at the controversial issue of front-yard gardens.

Please note that I disagree with one of Higgins’ statements, that homeowners associations are an “extension of local government.” He calls them the “ace guardian of landscape behavior,” which is “right on.” Homeowner associations enforce private covenants governing use of property within their jurisdiction, but they are private organizations, not extension of government. Perhaps you’ve read new stories about such associations trying to enforce covenants that prohibit homeowners from flying the flag, putting up crèches or Christmas lights, or painting front doors a prohibited color.

To read Higgins’ article, CLICK HERE.

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