Is this story real?
Last year, a couple in Southern CA decided to forgo watering the lawn to conserve resources, and their grass went dormant.
So what happens? They get a threatening letter (friendly if you ask the sending party) from the municipal code enforcement department to face fines unless they greened up the brown lawn. To top it off, Southern CA also gives fines for over-watering a lawn. South California municipalities need to get on the same page. Gardeners aren’t particularly known for their civil disobedience, but enough is enough.
They really were in a pickle, so have a read.
Same thing, a letter telling you that a fine will follow unless the situation is addressed. You might even go to jail if you don’t cut your grass to the proper length. Is there a grass patrol? Yep, every neighbor that casts a disapproving eye. Our city also has an enforcement official that travels around on the taxpayers’ dollar. He is a weed inspector and it is his discretion as to what is identified as a weed.
I let the grass grow a bit too long, but I am no lawn rebel. If it gets over the 8 inch maximum, I do my civic duty and mow it down. I like all the clover, violets and even the spring dandelions, but I don’t like citations. If only the dandelion would go back underground after they flower, a bunch more people would be happier with them. One dry year, I only mowed the turf twice all season. In some places, the city will mow if neighbors complain, but then you really pay for that though.
My gardens are not alternative for our region, but are for Niagara Falls. You just don’t see many fully planted front properties.
This leads to accepting. It also leads to understanding.
Having an alternative property, one of wildness, becomes a challenge to stop thinking of what is and what should be according to a set of opposing moral scales in valuing our personal space. Where we should be embracing the full spectrum of a natural landscape, ordinances keep properties in conformance. What we ultimately do is of cultural concern to the city, the suburb, the rural, and the natural – each having its proper place according to laws, ordinances and norms. It is also an ethical and principled responsibility.
How do we bend to accept without denigrating other lawn forms? A person can create a bit of wilderness on their property if they just digress a bit. Just stay within the boundaries of the law though.
Every week until the snow falls, the gardens will be awash in color. Don’t believe me? Just keep watching. Never shy to show…