Jean’s garden is safe. Apparently the emails you all sent were read by the mayor, and, according to what I was told yesterday, these emails were the first he had heard of the whole matter. Our commissioner of inspections went out personally to Jean’s house to look at the garden and this is what he reports:
I personally observed (today September 25, 2007) a very nice garden with what appears to be a mix of wildflowers. It is in very good condition for the end of our growing season. There are several narrow paths between groups of plantings, the paths are well maintained and cut very short, the plantings are still in bloom and are very colorful. The plantings do not intrude into the city’s right of way and they do not obstruct any line of sight. The unique location of the property on an almost dead end section of the street and the complete lack of pedestrian and vehicular traffic that can pass in front of the garden obviate any concern about blocking a line of sight for a car…
any enforcement action that may have commenced should and will be terminated.
(This report was sent to some of you who emailed, so I feel comfortable publishing this excerpt.) I honestly think that Jean would be in court, facing heavy fines and the possible destruction of her garden, if the flurry of emails, listserve messages, and blog posts that have happened over the past ten days or so had not occurred.
The fact remains, however, that the inspector was very persistent (5-6 visits over an overgrown garden are unusual, given the other problems Buffalo has) and it took the major’s intervention to make this go away. I don’t think it should have needed that and I still believe that much education about sustainable gardening is needed by municipalities and bureaucracies such as this and those in other cities.
What almost happened to Jean can still happen to others in Buffalo and many other places. But for now, I’m very happy her garden has been vindicated. My main concern now is which champagne to buy for the party. To all of you who emailed and offered support, thank you.