Artist gives award for the tallest weed he found in a neighborhood

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/03/artist-gives-award-for-the-tal.html

Usually Alainthus. Bamboo may be in the running, though I still find it charming.

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Simply observing his surroundings, not a passive-aggressive complaint at all.

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I guess he just means tallest self-seeded/wild plant not put there by humans, and not tallest “weed”.
Sadly.

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We had some beautiful natural flowers growing wild in our backyard - Queen Anne’s Lace, Black Eyed Susans, oregano, wild peas, and several more. At any moment on a hot summer day you could see hundreds of bees hitting the flowers. This in our fenced-in back yard that no neighbours could see.

The city decided to nose around and chopped the whole thing down. I’m guessing Mr. Pederson would feel vindicated.

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Tall poppy syndrome in action, almost literally.

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What? They entered your private property and cut down your greenery? WTF?
They can do that?!?!?! How did they even get access? Isn’t that trespass?
I’m dumbfounded. Where is this?

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They entered my driveway and took photos over the fence from there. Apparently city bylaws allow that - this is in Quebec, Canada, so the idea of one’s home being their private domain is not as powerful as it is in the U.S.

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But why? Have we all been hoodwinked, and Canada is just the biggest HOA in North America?

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Nor in the UK. Even IF they were allowed to take pics over the fence, and even IF they deemed the greenery a ‘nuisance’ or something similar, surely they must issue a notice first, requiring the homeowner to do something to remedy the situation. To just ‘force’ entry and damage your property (greenery) without notifying you in advance or giving you a chance to remedy any offence, or to appeal it, seems unconscionable to me.

An Englishman’s home is his castle and all that (apart from the umpteen assorted public and private bodies with right of entry). But they do mostly need to give due notice unless a genuine emergency is underway or serious offence is being committed.

Did they ever tell you exactly what the justification/offence was?

See also: Home Owners Association.

Oh, I apologize, I should have been a bit less brief in my description.

They did give me a warning. Said I needed to mow it or they’d do exactly what they did. I mowed the front lawn, hoping that would be sufficient (it was about a foot and a half tall with clover, which the bumblebees went crazy on). It wasn’t sufficient.

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Ah. Well that’s only slightly less bad. But the city denying you the right to have a ‘meadow’ lawn at the back is just plain wrong. Protect the bees! I bet you could start a campaign and get the city on the defensive for demanding residents remove bee-supporting greenery! :wink:

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find the tallest weed huh, is this anything like that time you sent me on a quest to find the best designed blotter?

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I am so sorry to hear. I know how that feels.

This happened to me as well, and you’d think here in Texas with its big talk about property rights and God’s creation blah blah blah… but nope.

I had a big fabulous bee meadow in the fenced-in area next to the as-yet-not-opened-for-the-season community pool. The pollinators were all happy and feeding heavily.

That morning before I left, it looked like this:
https://robgreebon.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Texas-Wildflower-and-Bluebonnet-Images-and-Photos/G0000A5fGuNQLE08/I0000c39mqgvigxA

I came back from an event at my son’s school a few hours later, and my HOA had had it mowed to about an inch tall. It looked so dead. Such a waste. The bees were at a total loss as to what just happened.

Sometimes municipal authorities / HOAs etc. will cite “habitat conducive to vermin” or “sightlines preventing safe pedestrian or vehicle access” or fire hazards, etc., but since the meadow is in your back yard I’m guessing the code enforcement crew had some regulatory cover that enabled them to obliterate successful and important habitat. Outdated, inappropriate or poorly-written ordinances that are dumb on so many levels make life miserable. It’s a short leap from this to why Texans say they hate All Gummint so much. :roll_eyes:

However.

I really really like what Ron Finley did in California. It took him a while to get the City of Los Angeles to change its code, but he did it!

He had a warrant for his arrest.
He circulated a petition and got signatures.
He had a court date and public hearing.
It took a few years.

It may be possible to forge an alliance with your local beekeepers, birdwatchers, native plant clubs, etc. and challenge your city’s or provincial law. I realize this is a big project that few of us have time, energy and mental bandwidth to tackle and I would not judge you for whichever choice you make.

A gardening friend advised me to arrange the wildflowers in raised beds, create “bands of color” in a seemingly more organized way (if you sort and plant wildflower by color and size, are they still "wild"flowers?), so that perhaps my HOA would look upon it all as landscaping and not some Horrible Uncivilized Weedy Flower Meadow Infested with Noisy Terrifying Bugs.

Raised beds drain faster and can cost more (both to build and to keep alive) where I live in Texas, so for now, I am having to create small “pocket prairies” on a much smaller scale in less monitored areas. But maybe raised beds in Quebec make more sense. The soil temperature would certainly warm up faster come spring!

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I’m so sorry to hear this; I’ve been growing drought-resistant and native plants for a few years now, replacing a lawn, and it’s great to see the bees and other bugs (and birds) that have been showing up.

I haven’t run into trouble yet, but this could happen anywhere. And it’s dumb, too, as there’s a movement now among gardeners and also many public works depts. to grow low-water natives and not use herbicides/pesticides. Of course nothing’s budging the “better lawn through chemicals” lobby or abating HOA proliferation.

But this guy marking the tallest weed is just so shortsightedly human-centric, when there are some great gangly tall native “weeds” to be grown (available for sale online), including compass plant, queen of the prairie, cut-leaf rudbeckia, and Joe Pye weed, etc., etc.:
https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/compassx.htm
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/pr_queen.htm
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=rula3
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=EUFI14

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(Insert one of the many curses on the French here)

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