Thank God I Don’t Live in Oak Park, Michigan.

After reading Colleen’s piece over on Treehugger about the woman in Oak Park, MI, who is being taken to court by the city for growing vegetables in her front yard, I realized how thankful I am to live in the neighborhood that I do. The above photo is not from where I live. This is what I imagine the control freaks in Oak Park want their neighborhood to look like. Just look at all that neatly mowed grass, evenly spaced plantings of mundane shrubs, and overuse of New Zealand Flax. It’s all so Stepford, isn’t it? It’s OK, I guess if you like things neat and tidy. Or if you dislike color. But it’s not for me. Let’s take a quick stroll through my neighborhood. Shall we?

This is where the anarchy really began on my street. About seven years ago, these folks ripped out their front lawn and planted fruit trees! They now have a fairly mature peach and pear tree in front. On the side of their corner lot, they have a fig and pomegranate.

A few blocks away, these farmers have been turning their front yard into a pumpkin patch for about three years now. They also have onions, eggplant and some squashes doing quite nicely.

This house is positioned right along the creek which is lined with huge Eucalyptus trees. They get very little sun in their back yard. So what’s a tomato lover to do? Why grow them in the front of course.

In addition to the front yard victory gardens, my neighborhood is noticeably lacking in turf grass. Perhaps that’s because our city has been preaching the wisdom of going drought tolerant in our plantings in order to conserve that which is scare. Perhaps we just don’t like to mow.

Whatever the reason, it means I get to enjoy stunning splashes of color like this Calandrinia/Tickseed combo on my walk.

My neighbors are also a creative lot and like to embellish their yards with interesting planters. Those rustic succulent planters are actually upturned mailboxes.

Some like to add unexpected splashes of turquoise with a bit of paint.

While others tuck in a statue or two.

Succulents are everywhere and do quite nicely.

Our hell-strips are often a bit untidy.

And who says water-wise needs to be boring? (These folks also mulch with sea glass and sea shells. Crazy, I know.)

This neighbor was actually a customer of mine when I worked at the nursery in town. I sold her that red carpet rose just to the left. She must have liked my suggestion because in the past couple years I see a few more being added to the landscape.

Yes, I’m glad I don’t live in Oak Park, MI, because I fear I’d miss out on gorgeous floral displays like this one.

Which brings us back where we started. Looks like it’s going to be a good peach harvest this year.

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8 comments for “Thank God I Don’t Live in Oak Park, Michigan.

  1. at 11:50 am

    Wonderful post, and I love your pictures. I have the same problem in my neighborhood but I’m secretly growing sweet potatoes in my front yard under the trees. They look (almost) ornamental!

    • Kat
      at 2:30 pm

      Thanks for stopping by you gardening rebel you. 🙂

  2. at 2:37 am

    Wow– your neighborhood is gorgeous! You’re exactly right about Oak Park and places like it, though — they want the Stepford look. My inlaws lived in a community that had pretty strict requirements about front yard landscaping, and pretty much every house in the neighborhood looked something like that picture you posted. Scary.

  3. Kat
    at 5:13 am

    Thanks Colleen. I hate HOA’s. Their approved plant lists are always so limiting and so boring.

  4. at 5:40 am

    Great post and super cool neighborhood. I love beach glass as mulch. Use it in my containers sometimes, but can’t afford it for my beds. I heard about that poor woman in Michigan. I can’t believe how short sighted her city council (or which government entity is after her) is. You’re lucky to live where you do.~~Dee

    • Kat
      at 6:16 am

      Dee I think their beach glass and shells are from a lifetime of beach visits which makes it seem even more cool to me. It has a history behind it.

  5. at 8:20 am

    I love this blog Kat! And you live in such a beautiful neighborhood full of interesting people with very cool ideas on how to live well.

  6. Kat
    at 6:48 pm

    Thanks Catherine. The neighborhood is old, a bit quirky, very diverse and I just love it.

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