Gardening off the beaten track – Picayune Item

Gardening off the beaten track

Posted 10:12 a.m. Saturday, September 17, 2022

By Felder Rushing

HArd base gardeners often color outside the lines, do not always fit perfectly. It can help with neighborly relations to literally state what we are trying to, to make the intentions more obvious.

I remembered this while helping a friend prepare his rogue garden for another visit from his town’s code inspector. Despite the masses of flowering plants, including a few sparse ones, almost all smothered by butterflies and hummingbirds, the place was more than a little messy.

And, of course, someone had complained that his garden was an eyesore, and the inspector, following his directions, made some, uh, recommendations, which basically meant “do these things or you’ll be fined “.

Parts of his letter made sense. “Pick up the scattered black plastic pots and empty potting soil bags that litter the front yard. Move plants that overhang the sidewalk back a little. Remove the shrub obstructing the stop sign. Mow the lawn a little more often. Stop piling mulch on the driveway so it doesn’t continue to spill into the gutter. Stop calling me names to do my job.

As I worked with the landlord to resolve these warrants (and get heaps of free plants in return), I remembered an official sign I saw decades ago in a McComb garden, which proclaimed the landscape “Area Yard of the Season”. Curious, having never heard of such an organization, I stopped to inquire.

So once we’ve disturbed the features of my beleaguered country garden friend and city inspector, cleaned up the front yard potting area, and moved some plants away from the city’s sway, I think it will be appropriate to put up a sign for neighbors whose personal preference ends at the street.

Rather than poking everyone in the eye with a simple statement such as “The garden is up to code”, I gave him a garden medallion proclaiming that the resident is a DIGr – a determined independent gardener.

That won’t stop him from throwing it away again, but for now it reflects good intentions, reminds the gardener to respect neighborly relations, and hopefully allays the inspector’s concerns as well.

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