This is so sad

amberroses(10a)June 20, 2012

The code enforcement officers cut down this poor lady's plants :( At least they could have worked with her and maybe she could have trimmed them a little.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woman Sues City of Tulsa For Cutting Down Her Edible Garden

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gardencraze(9b Groveland FL.)

I cannot believe that our country has come to this. It is happening more then is being told.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 5:06PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

That is sad, especially since she was down on her luck with no job and sick. If she had a cottage style garden, they would complained too. It seems that they only like a well kept lawn.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Oh my, that makes me so sad and angry. From the few pictures they show, it looks like a beautiful, well-kept garden. I hate that only plain grass is considered OK by so many neighborhoods. ...I'll find out as I expand more and more if mine is one of them. ;)


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:52PM
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worry about that here sometimes, only takes one so called neighbor to complain. i know every plant in this garden, up and close. that is not right, hope she rakes 'em through the coals....m....:(

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:04PM
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gardencraze(9b Groveland FL.)

More and more as I read the paper and watch the news, it seems like they are targeting people who are growing food more then anything else. Now that is really scary.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Very sad and makes me angry. Instead of spending their time we are paying for to target real criminals, they are wasting our money on innocent people.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:19AM
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It's amazing when municipalities support non-native invasives (yes, grass is not native to North America) that require high maintenance and environmentally destructive chemicals over an edible and medicinal garden. When I moved to Florida a few years ago, I made sure to find a property with no H.O.A, so I could do what I want with my yard. I've pulled up the front lawn and replaced it with navive plants and bushes that attract food and wildlife, and are low maintenance. I did get a notice from the fire dept. that I had bushes too close to the house and should consider cutting them back. I pointed out that the bushes provide much needed shade for the house, and acted as a windbreak in the event of a storm. They didn't know how to react to that.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:46AM
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brute(Florida 9B)

Hey, try to look at it from the government's point of view. If they don't occasionally make an example of somebody, like they did at Ruby Ridge and Waco, the rest of us sheeple might eventually wake up and become too uppity to be milked every day.
If there's one thing the police/nanny state fears, it's the white, middle-class tax base waking up and realizing a huge parasite is clinging to them and sucking them dry.
Can't have people becoming too self-sufficient, now can we?!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:23AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Thumbs-up to your comment, brute.

Sorry this is happening again this year. There were a couple very publicized stories from different states last year (Oak Park hates veggies comes to mind) but it looks like the battle still rages.

This story is beyond sad. This woman says this garden was her food and medication. I truly can't wrap my mind around the idea of the government cutting down someone's food, let alone being "allowed to."

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:00AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

If you'd like to get "hot", I made a hot topic.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Something like this almost happened here in Florida about 2 years ago. A HOA tried to force one of their members to remove their Florida-Friendly landscape and plant one that was a pristine, grassy lawn with a couple of ornamental trees. But thanks to Florida Legislation, no HOA can 'prohibit' Florida Friendly landscape practices. They are allowed to set some limitations, but that's about it.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Richard (chuggerguy)

When I moved down here from rural Ohio I knew to find a property without an HOA because I wanted to actually own it.

I was only lucky not to get a place within city limits.

Hopefully now that the desire to garden doesn't necessarily imply lower economic status, as was once assumed, the codes can be modified.

I'd be ashamed to live in such a community that would allow such a thing.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Brute you are dead-on. The government would rather that people depend on it completely and all it's entitlements than to try to be self-sufficient. This is how it perpetuates it's ability to have more and more power over it's citizenry. Although I'm glad we don't live in an HOA, we still have to have the local county government's nod to do anything around here, even to install a new front door.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Code enforcement & HOA's only exist,because homeowners wanted them.It wasn't too long ago that every home in surburbia was striving for the pristine lawn & bug free flower bed.When some homeowners didn't comply then eventually HOA's/code enforcement was formed.
Now the trend has changed,as some people prefer to grow veggies,not use pesticides/chemical fertilizers,or maybe even be so outrageous as to keep a few hens.You can't expect the Government to adapt to these trends as quickly(We are lucky if they can remove their head from you know where)As stories like this make the news,which wouldn't even of happened a few years ago,then the government has to take note to the growing shift in oppinion.It is only this year,that some Central florida munucipalities have allowed homeowners to keep a few hens.The trend is shifting,but it won't be fast.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 6:58PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

True, Westhamutd. DH and I made it a point to avoid neighborhoods with a HOA when we were looking for a house. Partly this was to avoid HOA dues, and partly to avoid busybodies telling us what color we could paint our house and what type of landscaping we had to have. But due to city ordinances, I can't keep any kind of "farm animal." So I can't have any chickens or ducks. I'd like to see those kinds of ordinances relaxed here as well, but I don't expect it to happen overnight.

Trends are definitely changing, in part due to the fact that gardening is becoming popular with (often affluent) "foodies" and the organic, eat local, and environmental movements.

The economy is also a factor, with middle and lower income people being squeezed by the combination of high unemployment/underemployment, lower wages, and high food inflation. When money is tight, Cities will eventually be forced to adapt to these trends and be more accepting of home gardeners and urban farmers, but the wheels of bureaucracy tend to grind very slowly. However, state and federal governments probably aren't going to be as sympathetic. State and federal elected officials of both parties benefit from campaign donations from agricultural companies, and seem to have an unending appetite for more regulations. More regulations let politicians appear to be doing things that "solve problems" or "keep us safe" but many of them are really created to make their campaign contributors happy.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Whatever happened to victory gardens? Time we gardeners stood up for our right to grow.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 8:18PM
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My neighbors complained about my yard back yard, which is naturalized with all native plants and mulch pathways. Code enforcement said that it wasn't visible from the street, so they couldn't do anything about it. These same people who complained moved into a house with some beautiful plants, dug them all up, cut down all the trees and put in stone. I think that's why code enorcement didn't take them too seriously. They had never even been in my back yard. Their main complaint was that my hedge (which blocked their view) was "scruffy." It was native plants, and it wasn't a hedge, it was a hedgerow. They wanted me to cut it down to 3 feet and box it. I think they were mad because the stupid husband couldn't use his binoculars to watch me like he did everybody else in the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:13AM
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I'm so glad that we are in the middle of 5 acres of woods where nosy neighbors would have to trespass to really see everything. We used to live in a subdivision, it was an old one before there was such a thing as deed restrictions but we were still constantly putting up with neighbors who couldn't mind their own business. We had turned out front yard into a water-wise garden with very little grass before it was popular and we got a lot of grief from some people. I thought it looked great and naturalistic, but it wasn't fussy enough for some. Now the only restriction we have here is no raising of swine, which I don't mind because they have an odor that I can't stomach. Other than that we can have other farm animals, a garden, we don't have to landscape or even have a lawn if we don't want to, although we do. And we can keep all the trees and underbrush we want, even in the front. We have thinned out some of it and bush-hogged trails all through it but not because we have to.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 2:47PM
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When we complain abt. 'Govt.' don't forget that it is US... we are the Government... and we have the right to complain, we can go to Council meetings, we can write our Representatives, and we can VOTE.... a lot of us work for the Govt., be it City, County, State, or Federal... and whilst the wheels turn slowly, it is US who turn them.... just my 2 pennies worth.....sally

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Randy Ritchie

This is appalling, but it's all too obvious any enthusiastic gardener could be targeted in FL. Believe it or not, much of the rest of the nation lives, and lives well, without homeowners' associations. We've lived all over the US, and only in FL do these parasitic entities exist. Right now we're living in an area with one, and a very ineffective one also. Due to placing a phone call to them about the abandoned property next door (it appears squatters have moved in)-a property complete with original landscaping that wasn't even visible for all the overgrowth, I was advised they don't handle those types of 'problems'. Many neighbors were using the yard for a garbage dump for compostable materials from their own yards. Two weeks after my pleasant phone inquiry, we received a letter that there is a certain standard for the neighborhood, and that we need to have the roof, front walk, driveway, and front storm gutter pressure washed to avoid financial penalty. Of course, our landlord immediately arranged for the work, but it sure seemed to be a retaliatory notice from the association. So, it's OK to have a weedy, overgrown mess with broken booze bottles and cans thrown into it (not food and medicinal plants, but simply non-native ornamentals and grass for original plantings). But the appearance of the hardscape is very important to the association. Might they be referring people to a pressure-washer contractor who gives somebody a kickback, when they send out these letters? Sorry, but that's the way those of us feel, who never had to live with the association plague. Without these entities, homeowners would have close to enough funds in the family budget to pay for a whole lot of pressure-washing, gutter and roof maintenance, outside painting, etc, which are really what are needed to keep homes up, not the 'overhead' of homeowners' associations. This same association neglects to remove coconuts from the palms they planted in the common areas prior to hurricane season, nor do they repair or replace loose, broken, or rotted fence boards in the common areas. Both could be said to be hazardous, and I'd venture to say, if found on a private property within their jurisdiction, would generate fines for the association coffers. And of course, the hardscape materials on the common areas are not pressure-washed, nor appear to ever have been cleaned. And, should anybody think these association entities are needed, all communities have more than enough laws on the books to enforce most anything somebody else could find offensive, from overgrowth, to peeling paint, to dilapidated fencing. Just call code enforcement and save the money for your own repairs rather than give it to an association.

Now that I've been on my soapbox, please forgive. I'll get back off and just say that law enforcement needs to keep us healthy and safe and cease upholding wacky peoples' rights to overrule those few who dare to live a bit differently by growing their own food and medicinal plants. For shame!

Just to clarify, we are renting from friends, which is a good deal for all concerned; a homeowners' association happens to be part of the deal, or we wouldn't be having any of that nonsense.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 10:12AM
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HOAs exist in many states, and the woman in the original post was in Tulsa, not FL.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Randy Ritchie

Wasn't meaning to sound like I was Florida bashing. The HOAs seem to be especially common here; we've just not seen them to the same extent in the rest of the country. The woman's plight remains a sad commentary on intolerance.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

The reason HOAs are so much more prevalent here in FL is because it is a retirement state. Add on to that fact that it is also a largely Republican state and you have a lot of people who want to live in communities with like-minded people. Since they're 'up there in age', they have grown up with the idea of a green grassy lawn being the epitome of classy, so their agreed upon rules say that people living in their community must live by that standard, and most of them are happy to. But now state law prevents HOAs from completely disallowing Florida-Friendly yards. They are allowed to set forth restrictions and I'm not sure how far they're allowed to go with that. It might be that they can say that such practices can be applied only to the back yard or that 50% of the front yard must be grass, I really don't know that part.

I have seen some Xeriscaped yards in the Villages, one of the biggest and fastest growing Republican Retirement communities in the country. But the vast majority are mostly green lawns with maybe 20% of the front used for landscaping. And after talking to some Villagers, I have found that while some wouldn't mind giving up their lawns for more eco-friendly yards, most are more worried about being ousted and blackballed by their neighbors to go against the norm. That said, the Daily Sun lately has had many articles about the benefits of Right Plant, Right Place and Xeriscaping. However, it has not escaped me that in their Saturday Garden and Home section, it's the large, lush, exotic, over the top, water and power hungry that end up getting featured on their front page.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 1:10PM
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>The HOAs seem to be especially common here; we've just not seen them to the same extent in the rest of the country

Well, they're certainly more high-profile here, but even Texas (Texas!) just recently felt it had to add some regulations for them:

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas HOA restrictions

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 1:29PM
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It isn't just the HOAs.

We recently received a notice of code violation for - get this- one palm frond - that was out on the curb more than 24 hours before the pickup.

We were told that some guy in our community had been complaining about all the yard waste being put out early.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 3:26PM
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Once I got a complaint about my chickens - no livestock allowed in Tampa. I wrote a letter to Code Enforcement that they were not livestock; they were pets - pure-bred Rhode Island Reds. That was the last I heard about it.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 5:19PM
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