A garden and a park threatened

Canadian gardener told that her garden will be replaced with grass.

By

It's impossible to pick up a newspaper these days or turn on the TV without seeing something about the benefits of an environmentally green world. We're thinking more about things many of us gave little attention to  before -- the impact of plastic water bottles and the benefits of houseplants that provide not just indoor beauty  but cleaner air.

But two news stories this week demonstrate that not everyone is listening. In Canada, a woman has been told that her garden is going to be torn up and grass planted. And in Kentucky, officials want to turn an area of public forest and meadows into a national baseball camp -- but residents are protesting.

Some of the most popular articles on the Monitor's gardening site recently have been about edible landscaping and the increase in home gardens. But a few people still think those gardens don't meet community aesthetic standards.

Recommended: Michelle Obama: 8 food and garden tips, stories from the First Lady

So it was that last week that Dianne Perras of Ottawa received a letter from the Ottawa Community Housing Corp. informing her that the garden in front of her residence had to go. And to add insult to injury, she was told that the garden that she's spent eight years creating and working in was going to be replaced by grass.

Any gardener reading that would have to growl, "How could they??"

But it appears there might be a happy ending to this story in the Ottawa Citizen. Possibly realizing that razing a garden to plant a plot of grass may not be the best public relations move, the CEO of the housing corporation later said the letter was a bit more forceful than intended.

The housing organization had gotten bad publicity from a similar incident three years ago and been forced to back down when local politicians came to the aid of the affected gardener.

Now, the group's officials are saying they want to compromise and involve residents in landscaping decisions.

Ms. Perras isn't so sure. She'll wait and see what happens. But she clearly can't imagine why anyone would mandate grass instead of lilacs, irises, and visiting birds.

Here in the US, Kentucky residents are battling efforts to turn 125 acres of  parkland owned by the city into a $20 million private youth baseball camp,  the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

"At issue," the paper says,  "is a plan to build a complex with as many as 25 ball fields with synthetic turf infields, including one field with bleachers for 4,500 people. Tentatively named Nation Baseball Park, it also would include 60 small buildings, each capable of sleeping up to 20, a dining hall and a store selling baseball equipment and memorabilia."

It's an economic development project.

But many residents are up in arms. And they may have some environmental regulations on their side: The Kentucky glade cress, a protected species found only in two counties, makes its home in the park and could be threatened by the development. And critics point out that some parts of the park were purchased with federal environmental funds, limiting the uses of the land.

These articles show that plants do matter to people, but vigilance is required until everyone feels the same.

Later addition: OK, let's leave this subject with a smile on our faces. Look at this article from the Chicago Tribune: Suburbs' fake flowers can stir genuine controversy.

It's about some suburbs planting silk flowers instead of real ones in hanging basket along their streets because they're cheaper than the real thing.

The residents of Des Plains, however, would have none of it. The proposal to change to faux blooms died after a huge outcry. Score one for the green team!

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