Skip to main content

You Can Pry My Organic Garden From My Cold, Dead Hands

I love my organic garden and would be furious if someone tried to take it away.

Gardens are beautiful and useful. Whether they are filled with flowers, lush plants, or nutritious vegetables, fruits, and herbs, walking by a gorgeous garden can brighten any dismal mood. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this love for plants. One such place? The South Pittsburg Housing Authority in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

A few weeks ago, Treehugger reported that the Tennessee Housing Authority decided that its residents could no longer grow gardens or do any type of landscaping in their yards—even if the residents paid for the plants own their own. And it’s not like these gardens were not cared for, either—many of the residents had tended their plots for years.

Apparently, this “ban” had been in place for a while, but it had never been enforced. The plants on the banned list included “all plants, trees, flowers, shrubbery, and/or gardening that is located in the yards or any/all units,” Treehugger reports. Residents could, however, keep potted plants on the front and back porch of the units.

So, why did the housing authority get ban-happy? Because of safety! “This new landscaping policy is needed to ensure the safety of the maintenance employees, residents and guests of the housing authority,” Lisa Bradford, the executive director of the South Pittsburg Housing Authority, wrote in a statement.

“Each resident that violated the landscaping policy by placing unauthorized alteration on the residential property created greater obstacles and safety issues for maintenance employees. The presence of additional obstacles created an environment where the maintenance employee has to spend more time performing landscaping maintenance rather than other maintenance on the properties.”

Scroll to Continue

From the Organic Authority Files

Sure, whatever.

Not surprisingly, the residents of the Housing Authority weren’t happy with the newly enforced ban. So, they made a bit of noise. The chatter from the Authority even caught the attention of the city’s Mayor, Jane Dawkins, who took the residents' side and said it was unfair that they were not allowed "to advocate for themselves at a public meeting.”

Well, the chatter got so loud that the Authority decided to reverse the ban—but only for residents who already occupy a unit. And while that’s well and good, many of the residents had already pulled up their gardens by the time the ban was reversed.

Most people put a lot of money and time into their plant beds and would be devastated to have to pull it all up or risk getting booted from the property.

And what’s so wrong with having a garden, anyway? They produce beautiful plants, pollen for pollinators, and food for gardeners. Perhaps the Housing Authority eventually removes its ban altogether and allows all its residents—new and old—to grow plants as they wish.

Related on Organic Authority
6 Helpful Insects You Actually Want in Your Garden
7 All-Time Best Benefits of Gardening (Besides the Food!)
4 High-Tech Garden Gadgets for Gardening in the 21st Century

Image of front yard garden via Shutterstock

Shop Editors' Picks

Related Stories