Another illegal front-yard garden, and this one’s gorgeous!


This time, the craziness is in Quebec.  And this time, the gardeners’ health is an issue.  According to this story, the couple has lost a combined 100 pounds since they planted the garden in March!  Expect to see a garden-to-lose-weight book coming soon, based on their experience.

They already have an online petition.

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Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. Seriously wow. Who would complain about a beautiful garden like that? To me it’s an all around win-win situation. Everyone has lost their mind!

  2. Those city official idiots probably couldn’t figure out what 30% is… if the neighbors like it and their not spraying herbicides all over every day, Live and Let Live.

    Why is it that people just love to get into other people s*&^.

    A rant of my own.

  3. To sign the petition, you must be a FBer, which I’m not & won’t be. I will have to haul out my Francais très rouillé et ancien to see if I’m able to write well enough en francais, or have to write in English, so that I don’t sound completely illiterate.

    As we all agree, they should be an example–how much weight they lost, how little pesticide & petrol use, a pleasant and changing variety for passers-by and the neighborhood as the year goes on.

    My cross-street neighbor recently had a sick white mulberry tree fall apart, and was excised the next day. May need some more stump work. The lawn was obviously dying, so I wandered over one day to ask him if he were killing the lawn in order to put in an edible garden. Alas, no. The remaining mulbery tree, in good health, has broken two sprinkler lines already, and they are still trying to figure out what they really want (besides less lawn! Yay!) and in what order to proceed. I offered sympathy, and help with suggestions if they needed them, but also good places to buy what they end up wanting to plant.

    He apologized for the condition of the lot that I saw more than he did, and said he really liked looking out at my yard, with roses, three very mature trees, and a variety of shrubs (and spring bulbs!).

    I sure hope none of our neighbors report that lot, as it’s not anything that can be fixed short of what they’re already trying to work out.

  4. I am really stunned by the pig-headedness of the city officials. It seems they are doubling down on their repressive policy toward front yard gardening. And their only excuse is that “no one objects”, which is transparent in its dishonesty. I’ve been to Quebec and always thought it was a more enlightened and tolerant sort of place. I guess not Drummondville. I hope that public outrage will force them to back down.

  5. The garden certainly looks wonderful. However, there don’t seem to be plantings or a layout that would look presentable in late fall, winter, or early or even mid-Spring — qualities that are extremely important in Quebec as well as other communities in the NE US. While I have no problem with using the front yard to grow fruits and vegetables, it should be done in ways that integrate all-season principles and cohere in even some small way to what’s going on in the neighborhood–just as the architecture of the houses and the lot sizes and property arrangements to the street, etc., do. Surely there are creative ways to achieve healthful, ecologically responsible uses of the front yard that don’t thumb a nose at neighborhood integrity..

  6. It’s a vegetable garden. Veggie gardens, almost by definition, have next to no winter interest in Quebec/Ontario; why should these people have to conform to someone else’s idea of “neighborhood integrity?” In my experience the most interesting streets are those with homes that have a wide variety of architectural style, and a wide variety of landscaping.

  7. My vegetable can look as good in winter as it does in summer. I acknowledge they are much farther north, but so are Elliott Coleman and Niki Jabbour. They are obviously stylish enough to come up with nice row cover and cold frame setups.

  8. They clearly bought into someone else’s idea by buying a house in the neighborhood in the first place. How did they know what to offer on the house? The answer is they made their decision based on housing values in the neighborhood. The one-season vegetable garden placed in a front yard can be unsightly at other times of the year. Would they have paid as much for their house if other yards in the area were so unkept appearing? Very unlikely. Please consider that the alternatives are not to conform or not to conform. Incorporating landscape design elements (shapes, plant materials, seasonal structure and interest, etc.) into a high-producing front yard garden is easy and feasible; more importantly it would go a long way to winning over converts to this movement. Slavishly disrespecting neighborhood qualities will not.


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