Losing the Plot.

Back in May, I posted a picture of the loveliest front yard in the neighbourhood.  I’ve been watching it as it morphs through its various phases.  Last night I took some more photos. I’m not much of a photographer, so these don’t nearly do it justice, but you’ll get the general idea.

I also got to meet the artist as she was tending to her creation and I complimented her on her beautiful front yard.  She took a moment. Studied me carefully and then said, “thank-you”.

She apologized for staring at me, but explained that she wasn’t sure at first if I was being sincere because ever since she started this garden, a couple of years ago, she’s been getting nothing but grief from the neighbours.  They complain constantly that it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the neighbourhood and want her to put the lawn back.

I was stunned.

This reminds me of Jo having to take her petunias off the balcony of her condo because management feels they might scratch up the railings.

Or poor Noha, who was taken to task for wearing her modest hijabi swimwear to her condo’s pool. The custodian told her she couldn’t swim in the pool anymore without a regulation swimsuit.

Or the clothesline ban that used to be in effect in Ontario — lifted only because Dalton McGuinty wants to look green.

Or the mural ban that one Ottawa couple found out about when they hired an artist to paint a mural on their garage to cover up the graffiti that kept appearing there.



16 responses to “Losing the Plot.

  1. Being of a variety that likes the idea of a garden more than actually creating a garden, I would much prefer to live across the street from this woman and have something interesting that captures the imagination to look out on than a large expanse of grass. I can get lots of grass in a park.

  2. It’s the primitive brain in humans – it doesn’t like anything different. Different is bad, and 10,000 years ago, different would probably kill you. The primitive part of our brains still speaks to many people. Heck, it still speaks to me sometimes but I have learned to tell when it is just being hysterical. Usually.

  3. Yup, ridiculousness of course. Like Julia said, Different = bad. It’s a shame because her yard looks beautiful. It’s not like it’s over run. If anything, she puts waaaay more work in than anyone else.
    p.s. You’ve got two “http://” at the beginning of all the links, so they’re not working…

  4. I love her property! Plus, if those are native, hearty plants, she is doing the environment a favor by not using gasoline to mow or extra water to keep a lawn green. Tell her she’s very “in” right now. 🙂

  5. Neighborhood associations are the root of all evil, in my opinion, as are self-righteous neighbors who try to tell each other how to live without the long arm of a neighborhood association to back them up. Now, I can see kicking up a fuss if a lawn was allowed to totally decay, thereby posing a fire hazard, but what’s not to like about a beautiful low-water garden?!

  6. Tania – It’s not just our city. Some of these examples are from Vancouver and Montreal.

    Violetsky – I was surprised that other neighbours hadn’t followed her example. Once the thing has been set up and planted, it’s pretty low-maintenance. A bit of weeding now and again — as opposed to cutting a lawn every week and hiring a pesticide/herbicide place to come and spray all the time.

    CP – I told her I put her yard on my blog and that I was going to blog about it again and she seemed quite chuffed at the idea!

    Julia – Interesting. People do seem quite frightened of things that are too out of the ordinary.

    Noha – She says it’s actually not very much work at all. The ripping up of the lawn and the planting and hauling of rocks was a lot of work, but now it just sort of looks after itself. (and thanks, I fixed the links)

    Debra – She’s a pretty hep old broad anyway. One of the reasons she started the flowers was that she refused to spray her lawn with weed killer and there were no organic lawn companies around at the time, so her lawn was’t all that interesting.

    melhoukhia – That and condo associations. Give people a littl power and look out!

  7. Gardening IS art and this yard is beautiful. A little Eden in the middle of the city. (And what is WRONG with people? They’re just jealous because their yards don’t look as nice.)

    I would love to own land one day so I can design my own garden. This is one of my little dreams. I have no idea how green my thumb is – or isn’t – but the discovery would be half the fun.

    And by the way: What is “chuffed” – I’ve never heard this word before!

  8. Lesley – you can actually wander through the front yard — she has all these winding pebbled paths and so much interesting stuff to look at and it’s always different – every few weeks new things shoot up and old things mature and go rest for the winter. I don’t think they’re jealous at all — they don’t have that much imagination. They’re just boring.

    Chuffed is an English expression which means kind of pleased — usually in response to something relatively small — a compliment, an act of kindness, a wee gift or something.

  9. You have got to be kidding me?! It’s a fantastic garden. I love rambling country gardens. The Urbane Lion and I are building our own in Gatineau, and several of our neighbours have the same style. Where do you live? Stepford County? Sad, sad, sad.

  10. UP – It’s kind of a 1960s neighbourhood within the city limits – small well-kept bungalows. I think mostly older people who’ve been there forever, have been doing things the same way forever and like it that way. I’m sure I’m not the only one in the neighbourhood who loves this front yard, but I guess a lot of her immediate neighbours do not.

  11. I can’t imagine why anyone would prefer lawn to that gorgeous garden. I mean really, I think some people just have either 1. too much time on their hands, or 2. no life of their own so they feel the need to busy-body their noses into everyone else’s. Or both.

    There are communities here in the US who ban clotheslines too. I so don’t get it.

  12. Kimberly – People’s laundry flapping in the breeze is apparantly unsightly. It’s not like they’re dangling along the road or anything, right? They’re in backyards. They’re clothes, for heaven’s sake. It’s okay when they’re on hangers all over the mall, but not when they’re clipped to a clothesline?

  13. that garden is absolutely beautiful, i cannot understand why someone would complain about it. ‘cept the human race are littered with “people that make no sense”.