Sunday, June 13, 2010

Musings on a front garden.

Well, it's something to think about. Enough people have disagreed with my and Mr. December's perception of the front-yard issue that we're rethinking our attitude. We're going to compromise, for now, on mowing our lawn more often.

Interestingly, the municipal by-law insists that front yards be kept free of weeds. This in the same city where it is now illegal to spray pesticides and herbicides. And besides, who determines what a weed is? The volunteer foxgloves that sprout between our foundation and our driveway? Chicory flowers (which I love)? Or just the usual old dandelions?

It can all be very confusing when you're not a perfectionist.

I think I can appreciate where my neighbour is coming from, in terms of the veggies. In her day, growing a vegetable garden meant that there was a shortage of produce - either because of war, or simply because you were too poor to buy your fruits and veggies at a store. For her, I suspect that living in a neighbourhood where people only grow ornamental plants is proof of a certain level of affluence.

In our generation, at least among the people we hang out with, growing vegetables is a hobby. A time-consuming, money-consuming hobby, that doesn't necessarily even pay for itself. Also, it's an environmental statement, having something to do with eating locally or organically. All of the above are really luxuries afforded to people with a certain level of affluence, and so we make absolutely no associations between a vegetable garden and poverty. Friends come over, see our garden, and say "Wow, cool! I had no idea potato flowers were purple!". It's seen as a really neat feature.

So all this to say that from now on we'll mow our lawn more regularly and divide the perrenials when they get too bushy and overgrown... but the vegetables stay, and so does the pear tree.

Now, if only I could get the city to come and uproot the dead sapling that's been in our front yard for the past TWO YEARS...


Jay3fer said...

REALLY??? People have *disagreed*?
I think it's pretty charming, but frankly, who cares what I think? And with the (mostly sensible) pesticide by-laws, even the city now has abdicated its right to care.

Michael Pollan, a famous gardener and food writer, wrote about how his father bought a house in suburbia which included the swath of green lawn which he promptly began to neglect and never mow. When the grass grew long enough for neighbours to complain, he got out the mower, fired it up, mowed his initials in the grass, and then parked the mower - forever.

Courtney Ann said...

Aurelia said...

In your neighbourhood, I get exactly why they'd complain about it, not because it looks bad, frankly, I bet it looks great, but you are right, there is a class issue around vegetables in the front. Stupid.

What about hiring a teenager to mow it once a week? For that area, $10 should do it. Alternatively, put in the kind of garden mine is in my yard, which is low creeping plants, small bushes, ground covers and some random bulbs and a flowering bush. Once or twice a year, I chop it all back.

Much much easier than grass.