Thank goodness the authorities have busted these hardened front-yard garden criminals

Illegal garden
High-tech kitchen garden evangelist Roger Doiron says: "If this garden is deemed illegal, we're in deep you-know-what."

Earlier this year, Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp of Drummondville, Quebec planted the front yard of the future: a gorgeous and meticulously-maintained edible landscape full of healthy fruits and vegetables. Now they're being ordered by town officials to remove most of their gardens (town code states that a vegetable garden can't occupy more than 30% of the area of a front yard) in the next two weeks to make their yard conform with newly harmonized town code. Front yard kitchen gardens are not the problem; they're part of the solution to healthier and more sustainable communities.

PETITION: Stop the War on Front Yard Vegetable Gardens


  1. In B4, “Rules are rules. If they don’t agree with them, they can move somewhere with rules they agree with.”

    1. Stupid rules *full stop*, but probably lobbied for by fussy neighbors, which are probably the ones who sicked the city on these people.  I find it hard to believe that municipalities have officials just roaming the streets looking for gardens.  These kinds of things are always about uptight, busybody, NIMBY (or NIMNY? not in my neighbors yard….) neighbors and their ideas of keeping up appearances.  Hopefully common sense will prevail and they’ll change the rules.

      Anyway, that is a handsome garden, but I find the “Big government strikes again!” angle a bit tenuous.

      1. .  I find it hard to believe that municipalities have officials just roaming the streets looking for gardens.

        Most major cities in NC do…  Well not just gardens, but code violations in general. 

        1. So they have a patrol looking for petty violations like gardens?  [citation needed]

          1. We have an asshole building inspector who drives around on his day off looking for violations.  Which becomes even worse when you discover that no two building inspectors here can agree on what constitutes a violation, and this city is so dependent on permit revenue that virtually everything requires a permit.  Turn on your already-installed alarm system – permit.  Put in a sprinkler system – permit.  Exterior painting – permit.

          2. I’ve had at least 3 code violations in the last 4 years.  But I’m not sure if I kept the original letter once they were resolved.

    2. The inevitable response is: if they allow this “gorgeous and meticulously-maintained edible landscape full of healthy fruits and vegetables”, what exactly are they going to say to someone who decides to allow his yard to become a not so gorgeous and less well-maintained landscape of ugly “fruits” and “vegetables”?  Being not so easily quantified as a percentage area, the qualities of “gorgeous” and “maintained” are not easily entered into legislation.

        1.  I propose a new law: “All flora visible from the street should be well maintained and cared for.”

          Just that.

        2. But the problem with relying on reason rather than law is that officials are biased. Just ask most black people if they’d like the law for speeding to be “whatever [the police officer thinks] is reasonable.” We’re already too close to that as a it is. There are generally three different options for most legal situations:

          1) Relying on reason, and officials’ discretion. Downside: The inevitable bias and favoritism, as people seek to influence the officials.
          2) Relying on detailed law. Downside: The difficulty in getting the law to distinguish between the all the many different cases, including the ones you want to ban and the ones you don’t. Note especially that different people won’t be able to agree on which cases fall in which category.
          3) Don’t try as hard to regulate. Downside: With freedom will come people doing things you don’t like, including things that nearly all rational people will agree are harmful, including possibly to others.

          After considering the possibilities, in most cases I lean towards 3) as the best of imperfect options. Feel free to characterize me as a crazy libertarian for that.

          In a second best case, I’d prefer to have things decided by as small a group as possible. A national garden law is worse than a state garden law is worse than a local one is worse than neighborhood rules, because the rules at the higher level prevent diversity and are harder to get away from and allow different people with different preferences to each live peacefully.

      1. The only sensible response I can think of to the “inevitable response” is: nothing at all.

        If your neighbours have plants in their yard that don’t suit your tastes, you get the privilege of shutting the heck up and putting up with it, because it’s not your yard.

      2. What could be more gorgeous than a bland, featureless, blank lawn?  It is the summit of suburban existence.

      3. An unmaintained yard is an unmaintained yard; what’s the difference if it’s overgrown vegetables or weeds? Plenty of HOAs and some towns have penalties for failing to maintain a yard, but there’s no reason that I can think of to limit the amount of veg in a person’s yard.

      4. But what’s the difference between a gorgeously and meticuloulsy maintained vegetable garden and an “ordinary”, or an ugly vegetable garden and an “ordinary” garden? Why is the vegetable part that makes it not ok? A lovely garden is a lovely garden, an ugly garden is an ugly garden… does it matter what grows there?

    3. Er, uh, but shouldn’t the response to a dumb law be to try to change/repeal said dumb law rather than to request the government to not enforce it?

    4. Home Owner Association : Rules are rules. That’s what Rules means.  We must obey the rules.  The Rules say we must obey the rules.  That’s our Rule.

    5. Wouldn’t changing bad rules be the right thing to do? Good people don’t run from problems, they face them.

    6. They need to take PAINSTAKING time to measure over every square inch of that yard. Cabbages and other fruit bearing or flowering plants are listed as ORNAMENTAL and so they can count that toward the percentage of the yard that is not a vegetable garden. 

      I wonder if they have a veg/fruit garden in back as well? They may be able to milk the system a little more by planting flowering “helper” plants to reduce the percentage of the yard counted as a vegetable garden. A good goolge search will yield what kinds of non-fruit bearing plants can be planted WITH vegentables and fruits to help prevent pests and molds and that would help balance out the ratiro of vegetables to regular garden. 

      This town regulation is absolute bullshit. Another case of the government not minding it’s own fucking business when a citizen is trying to be self sufficient in a completely passive and personal way. Damn the man! And if they can find out which neighbor is being the cuntbubble about this, I can happily provide LEGAL ways for them to make that neighbor incredibly annoyed for the rest of eternity. 

    7. That is what we told all those “non-white” families when we passed the community ordinance back in 1954 – but they didn’t listen, and there went the neighborhood!

    8.  RULES ARE RULES?  Are you kidding?  Who made these rules, and did the citizen have any input?  Is this Nazi Germany or Korea?  I am ashamed to even think that an American would say what you said.

    9. Gobsmacked. Speechless. What right does anyone have to tell anyone else how much frakking FOOD they can grow on their own property????????? I don’t even know what to say here. No words. Oh yes, here’s one…MORONS.

        1.  I always thought there was an undercurrent of wife swapping, car keys in the bowl sort of thing going on in The Good Life. It was obvious Tom fancied Margo for a start.

      1.  Oh My God!

        By his Noodliness, I can’t believe I forgot that show.  I Love that show!  Hell, I grew up on that show.

        -abs is now wondering if he can sucker his wife into watching it with him, she generally likes British TV and Margo is about as British as you get (well, Patsy & Edina excluded)

  2. The petition is a great idea… except that those of us not on facebook are, apparently, not wanted. WTF?

    1. They don’t care about you unless you tell them who all your friends are and how to contact them.

        1. Actually, the Facebook API doesn’t provide that. It does provide a friendlist and access to their profiles, though I suppose some people might put their income on their FB profile. [shrug]

    2.  And, to comment on the FB issue, you have to sign in via Yahoo, Hotmail, FB, or Hotmail. 

    3.  It’s the kind of petition you make if you don’t want that many people to sign it. You know, the ineffective kind.

      1.  Now that is a horrific punishment. How could they eat enough by themselves to keep up with the things.

        1. OMG, it’s that time of the year. LOCK YOUR CARS, people. These home gardeners are desperate. They will do anything to unload the zucchini.

          1. I had a friend who finally started making zucchini bread to get rid of it.  Zucchini bread with massive amounts of butter and a pound or two of chocolate chips per loaf.  By the time that she had given away her extra zucchini, it probably cost her several hundred dollars in other ingredients.

          1. I don’t understand why people don’t just compost them instead of alienating all their friends and neighbors.

            Actually, I don’t really understand why anyone grows it in the first place, although when I googled it, the plant is rather attractive.

          2. I like zucchini. Just throwing them in a pan with a little black pepper is awesome. I tried growing zucchini. You have to harvest them at the right time, otherwise the next day you come out and you’ve got green baseball bats.

      2. The only sensible thing to do with a bountiful courgette harvest is to brew and distill prison-style marrow vodka.

      3. I like me some zucchini and grow it every year, but we don’t get 8 hours of sun so we usually only get enough for ourselves. So, you’re safe!

      4. Why don’t I know any of these extra zucchini distributing people?  I suspect they are mythical.

        Extra salad greens, I have all the time – 1 1/2 rows of lettuce, I eat salad every day, and I still end up composting half the lettuce.  Extra rhubarb, sure – I don’t think it’s possible to grow just a little rhubarb.

      1.  Just stay away from the zucchini patch. It WAY embarrassing to show up at the ER looking for medical help to have one of those extracted after accidentally falling on it.

        1. Truth, right there. Pumpkin and other squash patches are rather bumpy to roll around in regardless. Give me a good old bean patch or lettuce garden any day.

    1. This is the third year in a row that we’re growing veg where shrubs used to be.  Our house is near downtown on a fairly busy street and we have heavy pedestrian traffic.  We have yet to have so much as a single tomato swiped by a human.  Critters, OTOH…

  3. Shouldn’t be too hard to get that yard conform. 
    Looks like it has over 50% of gravel paths. 
    And a driveway.

  4. Changing the rules isn’t as hopeless as some people make out. I used to live in a dry western state where you could only have grass lawn. The water conservationists squawked about it until xeriscaping was allowed. Now xeriscaping is starting to be required. Of course, now the people who like grass lawns are squawking…

  5. There are flowering plants that grow well with vegetables and help control pests. Some are even edible. Perhaps that’s a compromise the town code can live with.

    That aside… WTF? This is a problem that needs law enforcement?

  6. Drummondville is way the heck out past Quebec City, population about 70K. And Quebec civil code is generally leaning heavily toward rights and freedoms. I’m pretty sure that they could stand up to this if they wanted to and win on legal merit.

    1.  Leaning towards rights and freedoms? That’s not the Quebec I know and live in. This is the province where you can get fined for boosting your friend’s car on a public road if he has broken down.

      1. That is the most obscure load of hogwash I’ve heard in a while. And I have no hog to wash with it.

  7. I wonder if  they could get around this by building a fence or large hedge. Maybe they’ll kick them out and send them on a boat to the swamps of Louisiana.

  8. Plant a couple apple trees, a couple pear tree, a cherry tree, and a hedge of blueberries, and call it even.

    I have 8 fruit trees in front yard no bigger than theirs. 

    And I’m not hurting my property value the way this garden might.

    Oh and I actually had a tiff with the HOA last year because yes I had (knowingliy) put in a backyard raised bed garden too close to the property line. So I stuck a big fig tree in there. If they come back to me this year I will say “It’s not a garden any more, it is a tree planter with a tree in it. See the tree? Tree is not garden, tree is tree.”

    I ate the first fig of the year off that tree yesterday and it was freaking amazing.

      1. DIY projects that aren’t in compliance with local regulations?  It’s an excellent way to lose many tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe put in a whole grey water system so the plumbing is no longer up to code. Believe me, I’ve also seen many cases of DIYers who did serious structural damage to their homes (often managing to pass them along to unsuspecting buyers).  

        Also, why did these gardening buffs buy a house in Quebec without a good space for a garden?  If they’d bought a house on the other side of the street  the garden could have gone in the backyard, and they’d have privacy and room for a greenhouse.

        I’m not really responding to your comment, but enjoy your anger.

      2. Not everyone wants to garden – a plot that large is a lot of work to maintain. I’m sure most buyers would prefer a more decorative, lower maintainance, yard. These folks did it to make themselves happy, not to improve resale value. And thats fine.

        1. Joshua Bardwell’s comment was more about that fact that you shouldn’t live your life caring about what you’re doing to your damn property value all the time.

          My neighbors, who just moved in, are raising a stink because their neighbors put a nice, clean, IKEA shed in their unused parking spot on their own property (they don’t own a car), and now my neighbors are worried about their damn property value.

  9. Here in Vancouver the city says do not plant food out front because it will be contaminated by the grime from the street and cars otherwise garden away though they did crack down on some folks that were growing veggies out past the property line into public areas to use in their family  restaurants.

    1. That’s actually pretty interesting, and a bummer regarding the contamination, I hadn’t really thought of that before.  I have some neighbors that have a front yard garden, but it’s buffered from the actual street by the sidewalk, and the ‘parkway’, the grassy area between the street and sidewalk.

    2.  Good point. Exhaust fumes. I assume they use salt in the winter. Neighbors walking their dogs ( especially those that don’t like the garden) Even kids doing what kids do, which could be anything. Also, the area between the walk and curb would be in danger if the city had to repair a water, sewer or utility line (don’t dig too deep or you might hit a gas line!) I would hesitate to plant a garden in the front yard unless it was fenced in. But I’m all for it. And if not food, you can always plant native flowers and shrubs. Link to native planting group:

      1.  Litterbug pedestrians- always fishing garbage and cigarette butts out of the garden beds plus what ever the local addicts and their dealers have tossed away. At least the used condom plague has stopped. There is a lot of shit on urban streets. Rain season brings road spray full of engine oil and other leaking fluids. Gulls, crows, racoons, skunks, coyotes, cats and dogs leave parts of their meals behind to rot.

    3. Adela – these are my concerns too.

      My opinion is even if the neighbourhood isn’t on a busy street, people should probably avoid planting (low to the ground) edibles so close to the curb, and they shouldn’t plant such edibles on the strip between the sidewalk and road. 

      Edibles planted in the front yard, it might be safer to have some sort of buffer like a fence, wall, vegetation or whatnot between the sidewalk and the edibles. Just to avoid any road grime, dogs or other things. Where I live, a deer net is necessary, even in the backyard if the fence isn’t enuf to prevent their entry. 

      Having said this, I have friends and acquittance whom have successfully grown and eaten edibles in these places for years, and I have consumed said produce without reservations. It’s just something I do differently in my own yards.

      To each their own. 

      Almost forgot to say – these people shouldn’t have to rip out their garden. How stupid. The rules here are an arse.

    4. The ‘general rule’ for anything edible near roadways is 50′ from the road lesser traveled roads, and up to about 150 – 200′ for highways. You still have some contamination, but it’s not nearly as bad.

  10. This is ludicrous, not only should more people be growing their own food….. but that is one of the nicest gardens I have seen. Whoever reported/complained is reprehensible. 

    Hmm I’m not seeing much problem even with the 30% rule. As a decent portion of that is walking paths, not “garden”. If they really want to get all legal beagle, measure all out and lose one or two planer boxes. Then flip them the bird.

    1. So what can teh other 70% be made of? could the be a green house? Or maybe a really flat house with a roof garden? house  

  11. @Adela Doiron

    Yeah my biggest personal concern with a garden in the front yard would be all the grime from the neighbors.  Course it could be an issue with not getting any sun in the backyard. From the single image it looks like its probably heavily shaded.

    Edit: Grrrr Reply, Y U NO WORK?

  12. Out of sheer spite, if I were forced to eradicate 70% of my garden yard, I would do just that. 70% of the yard would be reduced to bare dirt, and kept that way. 

    1. They bust you for that, too. Fines are a source of revenue, so it’s important to have lots of rules that can be accidentally broken.

      1. Revenue is important.

        Along those lines, I think we  “…should tax all foreigners living abroad.”‘

        1. FTR – I know that Mr. Gumby did not utter these words….some twit in a bowler cap did. 

    2.  Or they could plant the most corpsey-smellingest flowers that will grow there.

      Or they could go back in time and stop themselves from buying a house with such imbecilic neighborhood rules.

        1. I planted an Alocasia ‘Portora’ last year which promptly flowered for five months and smelled horrible.  Right outside my bedroom.

          1. Who would have thought that a hybrid cross of Alocasia odora has an odor?    =]

            I bet they masked the smell of the disposed, uneaten bodyparts quite well.

  13. Having a petition on a site that requires you to add yet another app to Facebook is just dumb.

  14. stuff like this makes me glad that the HOA in my neighborhood is basically inactive, i can plant or not plant whatever i want on my property and no one can say a thing,,, the downside is that the guy down the street from me can paint his house barbie pink

    1. I’ve noticed this about various Home Owners Associations in developments composed of single family homes that are at least, say 25-30 years or older.

      I see kinda of a weak analogy here…where Marx said that ideally, the state, having fully matured and outlived its usefulness,  will wither and disappear, much like a zucchini left on the vine, compost heap or wherever. 

  15. Hello you all.  I’m the potager urbain owner of this garden.  You can go to my web site and sign my petition if it’s not possible for you without Facebook

  16. Maybe they should write a law REQUIRING neat and tidy vegetable lawns  that cover the entire front yard. ;-P 

    Seriously: For shame Drummondville


  17. I wanted to sign the petition but it requires that you have FaceBook. To the people who want people to support them: Please set up an alternative method.  It’s not like that couldn’t be done.  Boing Boing may have to re-publish this story when an alternative way to express solidarity is developed. 

    I am of the opinion that having a garden in the wasted space in front of the house is a very good idea.  We need to be of the “Victory Garden” mentality.  We need to have more gardens, not less.

    Best Wishes!


  18. If the homeowner really wants to blow his HOA’s mind(s), I suggest a copy of the old classic from the 60s, Euell Gibbons’  Stalking the Wild Asparagus.  All types of wild edible plants, probably some native to the area, and nothing obviously belonging in a vegetable garden.  Of course, if the HOA gets their knickers in a twist, probably they would complain about ‘nasty weeds’.

    Petition signed, although my French is merde.

  19. It’s a beautiful garden — but I don’t want to look at it. Put it in your damned back yard like everyone else. If you have a problem with that, move to a farm and go nuts. 

    1. What a brilliant idea! Let’s base our whole legal code on what pleases you.

    2. Are you familiar with the term “flaming shitheel”?  Because it sounds like you might be intimately acquainted with it. 

    3.  I don’t want to look at the cars in front of your house or the mind numbing tiny lawn. “Be like everyone else and put it in the back yard”…this sounds like an episode of The Twilight Zone. All I can say is, this family made a mistake buying a house in a ticky tacky subdivision where they’re surrounded by uptight, conformists who have no imagination.

    4. why would you not want to look at a beautiful garden?  is conformity more important than functional beauty?

      You know what I don’t want to look at?  Fucking lawns

      1. Exactly. Those lawns are fucking all. the. time. Around the clock. Going on and on and on.

        And those flowers, you do know what they are doing? Pollinating! That’s right… right under your nose, they are pollinating! Won’t anybody think of the children!!! You _do not_ want to look at flowers. They are lewd, they are like little flower whores! Just waiting there to spread their pollen around and taking it from anybody. So do what anybody does, put those nasty flowers in the back yard so people don’t have to look at them!

          1. Yeah… pimp bees. Have you seen the clothes they wear? Pimp clothes… nobody else would wear yellow and black stripes, unless they are pimps!

    5. You don’t want to look at it… because??? And why is it everybody else’s problem what you want and do not want to look at?

  20. These people are amazing.  And the city and nosy neighbors can go suck a dick.  If everyone converted their yards to edible landscaping like this, it would go a long way towards making communities self-sustainable foodwise (and take plenty of profits away from those fucks in Big Food/Agra).  Just add a couple of backyard chickens, get some locals who specialize in preservation (canning, drying, pickling, freezing, etc…), and you’re practically set.  And it’s a hell of a lot healthier food than what the supermarket offers.  This is exactly the kind of stuff biodynamic farmer Joel Salatin has been advocating, it’s nice to see it implemented so deftly.

    Also, this is much better for the environment.  Turf grass lawns are not only a waste of space, but are one of the main dumps of chemical fertilizers and biocides.  They’re effectively destroying our soils, whereas organic gardens like this actively build new soils – especially with the help of compost.  Here’s a fun video worth watching:
    Your Yard Is Evil 

  21. I googled this story, and  there’s some pictures of it out there from well  after this article’s shot was taken, where it’s grown out quite a bit…. looks even worse. 
    That really looks horrible… I’m glad I dont have to live next door to them… and if I were looking to buy a house in that area, having that next door or just in the neighborhood would certainly go down as a negative in my consideration. 

    Did they simply not know about the town ordinances before they built their garden? Is their backyard somehow not suitable? Are they trying to have the ordinance itself changed? Or are they simply wanting to just ignore it? 

    1.  If you lived next door to them and you were nice you might get some free food.
       Town ordinances re: chickens (which were instituted to cut the ties to to Old World immigrants in the name of sanitation and modernity) are changing in favor of maintaining small flocks if loud roosters don’t disturb the neighbors.

      What difference does it make if the garden is in the back or front? Are you up on all your town’s ordinances? That said what if they chose to ignore it? When people do simple things like plant a veg garden in their front yard the community is forced to go back and examine the reasoning behind the ordinance. That’s how change happens.

      1. I asked about the backyard because that might not violate any ordinances in this particular town. Also, backyard gardens are less visible and less impacting than front yard gardens. The balance between one’s right to use their own private property how they wish, versus that use’s impact on others, is one of the primary reasons we have a system of “government” at all.  This particular ordinance does seem to me to be an overreach. It’s impact is mostly visual. I dont care about it’s functionality versus aesthetic, or it’s sustainability. I personally would not like seeing it in my neighborhood because I think it looks ugly, and would not want to view it or live nearby, but thats me.

        Discussions about limits on how individuals exercise their private property rights seem to often devolve into arguments about the “modification” instead, when I think it should be much more of an independent consideration. Having a more popular modification muddies the larger point of where such lines should be. If instead of a garden, the owner decided to pave over their front yard with asphalt or cement, or remove all vegetation and simply big a 4 foot hole or zig-zag trenches, or cover the yard with furniture or rusted out cars or pink flamingos or a 50 foot statue of Mitt Romney… how much does support fluctuate.

        And no… I’m not up on my town’s ordinances at all. But, if I were going to do something like this, and make such a large-scale change to my property, especially a change with such a high time and effort investment… I’d most certainly check with my town and see if there were any ordinances that would impact my project. If they did that and found out about the 30% rule, and worked to have that rule changed, that would be one thing… something I could understand support for.

        But, if they didnt bother checking, or were informed of the rule and decided to just ignore it… well, I have much less sympathy or support then. While people are perfectly capable of picking and choosing which rules they do or do not follow, that choice comes with the responsibility of accepting the consequences of those choices (in this case, a hefty fine).

        Trying to change things is fine… wanting to be exempted from the rules because you dont like them is quite another thing.

        A third situation might be that the rules switched up at some point and are being applied retroactively or something. The articles I found were a bit vague on exactly what the sequence of events were.

        1. Making the leap from front yard vegetable garden to rusty cars on a paved-over space that once was lawn is the same over the top scenario the right wing constructs when they claim same sex marriage will lead to legitimatizing unions between species.

          If someone doesn’t push the envelope towards change it simply won’t happen on its own.
          Civil disobedience was a time honored tradition which in today’s growing police state has become swat team worthy.

          How does this garden threaten the neighbors or their property values except that it doesn’t conform to their image of a proper front yard. And I could go on about what traditional landscaping plants I would hate to have to look at but would accept my neighbor’s choices as their right.

          1. But there are perfectly valid reasons why that same-sex marriage scenario is a bad “slippery slope” analogy (animals cant make such decisions). I dont see why garden versus pavement is a big jump…the difference seems to be just the general favorability level, of some towards the modification. Otherwise, it just devolves into “I support them doing X changes because I like Xs, but Ys are different because I dont like Ys”

            Also, to clarify my earlier post though, “civil disobedience” has a time, place, and is at times necessary and appropriate. I dont know that this situation applies.

  22. If you buy a house & agree to the terms of the HOA when you buy the house (it’s a contract) ,….

    and the same rules that apply to you – apply to everyone else & vice versa.

    That being said – usually the rules for the back yard are that you can do most anything that isn’t visible above the fence line (about 5 feet high).

  23. If the ban is only against vegetable gardens bigger than 30% of the yard, why not make the remaining 70% a fruit garden (incl. tomatoes, naturally)?

    1. That garden is beautiful. It all depends on your expectations. Do you expect to see landscaping, or do you expect to see ripe, healthy edibles? Healthy edibles often do not look landscaped.

    2. That still doesn’t look awful to me. It looks like a healthy patch of green growing things, which is rather what I want from a garden. Puts me in mind of a cottage garden, just one devoted to human needs rather than wildlife needs. 

    3. Gardens grow as the season progresses. You prefer a postage stamp sized lawn and 2 or 3 cars/pick ups and a basketball hoop in front of the house? Where do you think your vegetables come from, NIMBY, or in this case NIMFY?

    4.  Whoa. Reminds me of my garden in Sims 3. Incidentally, a bug happened and protesters would organize in front of my yard close to 24/7. I didn’t know it was a bug at the time so to make a long story short: I became the Mayor/Supervillain then invited everyone who ever attended the protests (half the town) to a party in my basement where I locked them in a door-less glass case.

      Good times.

    5. I’d rather be sharing a community with people who care about sustainability, health and reducing consumerism,  than with a bunch of people obsessed with outward appearances. Just my personal preference of course.

    6. What? Your picture looks even nicer than the one above in the article! Wow! Seriously, somebody has a problem with a beautiful garden like that??? People really do need more problems, they are apparently really grasping at straws.

    7. Wow, that’s beautiful.
      I’m confused. Are you saying that a sterile lawn is nicer than that?

    8. Zweii, I view the pic attached to your comment as more attractive than the pic attached to the parent post.

      Maybe it’s a regional thing – and I understand this, so nothing against you. I do understand the property values concern – I don’t like it, but I don’t like many things over which I have little control ;)

      But where I live, this sort of thing is trendy to the point of better-off home-owners paying grunts to achieve this look, even if they wouldn’t think of eating the produce. Depending on the neighbourhood, a garden space like this improves so-called curb-appeal, especially if the majority of the plants are mature perennials such as rosemary and other herbs.

      The sensory effect, especially when walking through neigborhoods with many of these front gardens is really pleasant.

    9. I like the look of that picture. I would be glad to be their neighbor and would probably do it also.. You do realize that they are putting in a lot of work all the time there correct? A garden requires a lot more work, mostly by hand, than a mow every 8 days lawn. Maybe that is the problem. everyone else sees them outside everyday instead of sitting in the recliner throwing back a six-pack.

      Another thought, for those that say to just move it to the back like everyone else, most likely there is more garden in the back. Maybe they are ggrowing vegetables for other family members also.

  24. The prioritization of property values over individual liberty absolutely enrages me. If you think about it, the only reason to be concerned about property values is if you intend to sell your home. People who have no intention of moving want low property values because it reduces taxes. So what we are doing is we are making it so that people who have no investment in the neighborhood can easily leave, while making it so that people who have an investment in the neighborhood are prohibited from leaving their mark on it. What kind of sense does that make?

    1. The real estate bubble turned everyone into investors. For the several years that I worked as a realtor, I hated the buyers; they just talked incessantly about resale value with almost no attention to whether or not they’d enjoy the home if they were to buy it.

      1. Aren’t bubbles generally produced by speculation? Investment implies some sort of security of return.

        1. Well, they thought that they were investors. Because they read a book. And that made them experts.

    2. This is the angle I think is important.  Property values are also what drives building permits.  Try and get a waiver to build a yurt on those couple of acres outside of town, or any alternative yet safe housing, and you’ll the the run-around like nobody’s business.  So much for freedom, eh?
      Same goes for city codes in general.  People were convinced their house was going to make them big bank, and consequently are deathly afraid of anything in the neighborhood that they perceive will reduce their “values”.  So, instead of building or buying homes people think of as life long investments and actual homes, they were/are seen as you’re own personal investment bank.  Big mistake, and it makes neighborhood look like stepford wife-like cookie cutter abominations, completely devoid of any humanity.  

  25. That nice, highly-managed garden makes my unkempt garden (with its many plants going to seed not because I was planning to save the seeds, but due to lack of time) look bad.  I’d report it as a violation, too!  Damned overachievers.

    1. Heh, yeah! I’m never going to have such a beautiful garden (mine just won’t grow this year for some reason… the only thing that really took off was the peas). I’m totally green of envy!

  26. BTW, the growing season in Drummondville is only about four months. There are about four months where the garden will be under a few feet of snow and another four months where it will just be mud.

    1. Ours is about 3 months. I really dream about year round gardening, would be so nice! (And no shoveling snow!)

  27. I guess if you lived in Toronto at least in my end of the city and this was the law about 25% of the house owners would be in trouble. I love front yard gardening and plan on doing something similar to our front yard in the next few years.  If everyone gardened just half of the land available to them in Toronto we could feed the whole city.  Urban gardens are so important to climate change.  this is sad that they are asking to have there beautiful front yard destroyed because they chose to grow plants that produce food.  i have seen many front yards with no edible foods look much worst then this yard and no one say a peep about them.

  28. Please forgive mistakes in spelling/grammar. I’ve just had a trip to the doctor for severe back pain and may be under the influence of a few relaxants. I am actually normally very accurate with grammar and spelling. 

  29. If you extended your backyard fence around it could you claim it was your backyard?  Is there some law that every house has to have a front yard?

    1. I’ve always thought that for regular houses (and not, you know, stately manors) a large front yard is a total waste of space.  This is back when I assumed the only thing you could do to it was grow grass.

      Now that front yard food gardens have become a thing, and stupid town/HOA rules have also become a thing, I feel more justified than ever in that belief.

      If the day ever comes that I get to be a home owner, I’d want the house to be constructed as close to the front of the lot as legally possible, and have plenty of room in the back for my shenanigans away from nosy d-bags.

      1. Streets are statutorily 60 feet wide where I live. But in practice, little residential streets in older neighborhoods are less than twenty feet wide. Much of what constitutes ‘front yard’ is really street easement. At my previous house, had the city widened the street to its limit, it would have been about five feet from my door and right through my neighbors’ septic tank. If cities aren’t going to use the whole easement, it doesn’t make much sense to leave it bare just in case.

  30. There are plenty of non-veg garden front yards that look like crap.  I think that a well-tended yard *period* should be the standard. And whoever grows food in their front yard should get extra points, maybe even a tax break. 

    1.  Obviously you’ve seen my front yard :D  Eventually I want to move into xeriscaping, but right now it’s an expanse of weeds and unhappy struggling grass.

      1.  I like having a number of unkempt front yards in my neighborhood. It deters the busybody douchebag element from buying near me.

  31.  local TV news dint pick this up? …  at least I dint see it on any local news… and they thrive for stuff like this

  32. I don’t know the exact rules of the city, but from what I can see, I’d estimate they are not using more than 30% of the front yard for actual gardening. 

    The majority of the front yard is taken up by the driveway and stone covered walkway, barely 30% of it is being used for gardening. 

     They should do the measurements and see, it might make their case and protect their garden from this idiot rule.

  33. What is the city’s stance on topiary? Not vegetables! And easily shaped to resemble a middle finger salute.

  34. I would be interested in seeing the *exact* wording of that law, in addition to a list of exactly what is planted in that yard… ‘vegetable garden’ vs ‘edible landscape full of healthy fruits & vegetables’ are not the same thing- fruits and herbs are not vegetables… semantics may be annoying, but they can definitely be used to make a point.

  35. Lord Mansfield: “The rain may beat against the cabin of an Englishman, the snow may penetrate it, but the King dare not enter it without the consent of its owner.”

  36. I hope they keep the garden and fight for their basic human rights….this is bullshit plain and simple people. Stop being slaves to idiots…..You are all smarter than they are, by the way………keep that in mind.

  37. More and more people will plant vegetables. It’s time to destroy those who would force us to depend on PURCHASED food. Today begins the VEGETABLE REVOLUTION!!!

  38. I’m from the province of Quebec, and I was lawyer until my retirement last year. I do not have any involment in this case, nor I know these people, I just read about that in the newspapers. I would like to reply about comments saying things like this, putting the blame on the owners: «They  just should move where this kind of garden is allowed». The truth is: it is not what it seems, and the story is much more complicated. These people (the owners of the garden) hasn’t made a mistake. The city where the house is located is indeed a rural village called St-Charles de Drummond. In 2002, a previous provincial government had forced many small cities to be annexed to the closer bigger city, illegally and without these villages or their population’s consent. Often, these annexions by force covered many miles square, and rural villages like St-Charles de Drummond , with their own town code allowing farms, etc. , being located as far as 30 miles from the next urban or industrial city, were included within this «next » city, here Drummondville. These annexions were more than often pure nonsense because the way of living of the involved communities were so different and so apart. When a new government was elected 2 or 3 years later, and offered to the forced villages to be independant again, too much public money and tax income had already been spendt for the annexion and the villages couldn’t afford the reverse process.When theses owners planned their garden last year, they had a positive legal advice about conformity to St-Charles de Drummond village, and it is still legal in this residential/rural area because the town code of St-Charles hasn’t been changed since 2002 (year of the annexion). But the new «big» Drummondville wants NOW to change this code, or at least wants to submit the new annexed rural areas to the same regulations than the urban downtown of the previous independant Drummondville, which is really unfair because many old rural institutions or enterprises, pre-existing well before  the urban Drummondville itself within their respective villages, will become «illegal»!

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