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Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Junglekeeper, Jul 12, 2023.
Turning your yard into a meadow can save water and time. Here's how to do it
We let our back yard go meadow some years ago and our kids LOVED it! Alas, in Delta there is a city bylaw prohibiting "weeds over over 20 cm". Last year our neighbours called us in to the bylaw office three times for weeds in our yard. We can't even have a pollinator patch if it includes "weeds", and specifically cited by the bylaw complaint was fireweed (known in garden lore as Rosebay Willowherb). Oy.
That sounds like something that should be changed.
What if you grow veggies and mix in the flowers to attract the pollinators, as they do at UBCBG's food garden. I mentioned an interpretive sign with that comment five years ago, but I didn't photograph it.
The flowers I photographed at the time were not a good example of ones over 20cm, but that's just a hand-span for me - seems like the bylaw was written to include any plant a neighbour doesn't like.
Of course then there is the issue of invasive plants, but the height restriction doesn't seem like the way to address that.
The issue was more my neighbour, who insists on immaculate and pruned gardens (and who has secretly pruned several of our shrubs), than the city, but the bylaw officer came out anyway!
Someday, there will be a bylaw that prohibits grass-only lawns!
The key point is that the bylaw apparently has a list of particular prohibited species. With it being unlikely that every pollinator plant Western might be able to get to grow is on that list. As for the height restriction probably this is based at least in part on the fact that in the coastal ecosystem all but the minority percentage of open sites that cannot support much woody plant growth soon become colonized by shrubs and trees if there is no cutting or spraying to prevent it.
In the link of the OP it refers to native species being used to create meadows. A meadow is not simply an area left to its own devices. I don't know what plants were in @WesternWilson garden but perhaps that is what the neighbour is concerned with. In the link below from the Delta Invasive Species Strategy there is no reference to "weeds over 20cm" (possibly a bylaw is worded differently) that I could find and, also, in the list of "13 invasive plants" in the document it names the plants of high priority. One way of trying to slow the spread of an invasive plant is to not allow it to go to seed which might be why the reference to '...over 20cm...'.
Did the bylaw officer refer to a specific plant that was over 20cm? The vast majority of plants in nurseries perennial and even annual sections would be over 20cm. Seems unenforceable if 20cm is the benchmark.
Delta's Invasive Species Strategy_Feb 2016.pdf
This ecologist was told she could keep her natural garden. Here's why she's fighting city hall anyway | CBC News
My friend Deborah Jones, a streamkeeper in North Delta (Cougar Creek Streamkeepers) sent me this in an email:
Signage is so important. Also, mow or weedwhack a clean edge around the area, 20cm wide or more. Then people know the "messy" space is intentional.
Signage examples attached; last 2 photos are adjacent to McCloskey-Hydro Rain Garden (in North Delta).
It seems people encounter similar bylaws in many places. Here is another one: Sask. woman who got cited for tall plants in pollinator garden says bylaw should change | CBC News. The article states:
I wonder why the woman's plants didn't qualify. Perhaps it's as @Ron B says, that the bylaw "has a list of particular prohibited species".
I understand your dilemna —-
1. Have you spoken to anyone at city hall?
2. Have you looked up nearby suburb bylaws about this topic and shown as evidence for future water-friendly change ?
3. I agree - yes - we bought 6k$ worth of topsoil that was riddled with fireweed unknown to us —- the fluffy seeds blow everywhere and they also grow underground root system — anyway I can understand our neighbour with a nice pool and garden asked us to limit the blowing fireweed fluffy seed — so I have a few in a couple of containers for bees and hummers and that works
4. what about a meadow lawn of California poppy escholtzia (spell) - there’s a multi color mix called Mission Bells
5. i like Linaria for bird and bee friendly — if any person complains — I know of an official BC healthcare facility where it is planted as a water friendly nature friendly planting (yes I asked recently on forums for ID)
6. there are nice (short!) mixes from the progressive business offering seeds and plants in Ladner (West Coast Seeds?) They have an informative how-to website as well
i envision you’ll be a neighbourly leader … I bet there’s neighbours nearby who also would like to have more water and nature friendly garden scape
OMG I remember living in Richmond: bylaw 'police' everywhere, yet, we can have four cannabis plants...now don't they call that 'weed' ? Sorry for your trouble: YES, submitting letters to City Hall seems to be the long and lonely road uphill but it may be the only way. There was a time when you could not have a clothes dryer in the back yard or chickens so, there is hope.