Thursday, May 7, 2009

no garden after all

i recently received a letter from my landlords which was troubling on multiple levels. the whole trouble began last summer. i received a call from my landlords advising me of a letter they received from the city which was followed by some nasty phone calls from one of our neighbors. apparently, one of our neighbors who lives several houses away from us does not like us. why she dislikes us i am completely unaware. we do not have loud parties in fact if anything we are the only house on our street that does not regularly have visitors. we are pretty quiet and keep to ourselves. we have no children or pets that run through the streets or vandalize property. and, trust me this is a regular problem on our street. we have kids who walk through yards willy nilly. we have one neighbor who shoots off fireworks at least once a month usually between 10pm-midnight. when the neighbor called my landlord, she accused him of being a slum lord who houses crackheads. now, i may be a recovering alcoholic, but crackhead i never was.
she filed a complaint to the city that we were not within the lawn code. our grass was a bit overgrown at the time as my boyfriend had been having heart problems, and he prohibits me from cutting the grass to be safe and avoid possibly fatal wasp or hornet stings. by overgrown, i mean it had been about a week and a half since it was last cut. the grass, in all honesty, must not have been the real code violation. along with my landlords, we assumed that to be the problem. in the original letter from last august, the city included the whole lawn care code which states grass cannot be longer than 3 inches and no weeds can be longer than 12 inches. so, my boyfriend became vigilant about mowing the lawn and using the weed whacker.
i was surprised and confused when i woke up one morning early this february with snow covering the ground to discover that our sassafras trees had both been cut down so they were just stumps, my daffodils which had just begun to bloom the day it snowed had been weed whacked, and our muscadine vine was severely pruned to the point i doubt we will see any fruit this summer. i was confused. my only thought was that our landlord had decided to do some landscaping. the city ordinance letter from the previous summer had been so long in the past that i never even thought they could have been the ones who removed the plants. on top of that, i thought the choice of plants removed to be odd, but since i don't own the property, i really have no say.
then, the end of april, i received the letter from my landlords including a bill from the city for the removal. i was upset by the cover letter that the city had removed plants that i certainly do not consider to be weeds. however, the city has no definition of what a weed is. it is up to their discretion. i was horrified, though, when i saw the bill. the city was charging close to $700. i sent a letter to my landlords begging for mercy until the middle of the month to pay them as times are tough, and that is quite a large chunk of change for us to dish out right now.
now, my mind has turned to the garden i was preparing to plant. considering the plants the city has already choosen to take from me, i am not sure what plants are safe to have in my garden. i have seeds for carrots, basil, thyme, cucumbers, rosemary, radishes(but, those i'm giving to my mother as i can't stand radishes.), tomatoes, and squash. i also had procured wildflower seeds. i think it is ridiculous the city can control what is even in my backyard as long as its not drugs of course. and, i was so excited to have a garden of my own.
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