About the Outlaw Garden

I like flowers. Sure. Who doesn’t? But, as a gardener, I’ve always been most attracted to plants that do something. It’s even better if that something they do is a something I can eat. Fruits. Vegetables. Herbs. Almost every plant in my garden is edible. And, the ones that I can’t eat are there for the bugs and beasties — big, native flowing and fruiting plants to attract pollinators, nurture beneficials or entice birds.

So, when I began shopping for my first house, a big sunny spot for a big happy garden was high on my “must have” list. But, as anyone who’s ever bought a house knows, those “must haves” have a way of evolving. And changing. And sometimes getting dropped altogether. That’s how I ended up with a suburban house on a half-acre of land with absolutely no sunlight in the large backyard or sideyard. The garden would have to be a front yard affair. No biggie. Right? Wrong.

Suburban homes often come with Home Owner Associations (HOAs). Some have more rules and red tape than a congressional hearing. Mine, in comparison, is pretty chill. I was fine with the requirement that all dogs be leashed in public areas. And, the ban on streetside RV parking seems pretty reasonable to me. But, this clause gave me a bit of concern:

Article VI, Section 10: Vegetable gardens shall be allowed in the rear or side portions of said lots only.

What to do? Skip the garden? Or, ignore the rule? I’d think the choice is obvious.

So, my vegetable garden is outlaw, and my neighbors don’t seem to suspect a thing (at least, not yet). One even asked me if I’d ever tried growing vegetables. Sure, I’d said. Once in a while…


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Suz Bramlette Shafner September 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm

My sister Denise sent me the link to your blog and all I can say is “You Go Girl”. I saw a report on my local news last week (I live in the Daytona Beach Area) about this same topic. A woman had a beautiful garden in her front yard and the HOA was pushing her to remove it (what a waste)! I grew up on Colt Run Road with your Dad and eventually your Mom so I know your Mom is an avid gardener, sounds like the apple hasn’t fallen to far from the tree (no pun intended). Denise also said you have a photo session tomorrow for the magazine you write for so much luck with that!! I know your Grandmother must be so very proud to have a journalist in the family. Look forward to seeing the article about your Outlaw Garden.
Best of luck!


Cristina September 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Aw, thanks Suz! Yes, I’m very very lucky to have so many gardeners in the family. As a hobby, it’s pretty darned contagious. And, thank goodness for that!


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