"Most Ironic Run-in with the Law" goes to…
We all loved the story of Jean Dickson’s wildlife garden in
Buffalo – especially the happy ending – but here’s one with a special twist. Maryland lawyer, wildlife habitat gardener and author M.A. Sheehan was holed up in a cabin in West Virginia writing a book about her habitat garden when it was hacked to the ground by the Man. No matter that it’s a backyard garden that can’t even be seen from the street. A notice had been left on her door but the neighbor taking care of the property didn’t see it, so action was taken.
A law in her town of Hyattsville outlaws "weeds" that are taller than 12" and defines weeds in the weirdest of ways – to include grass, brush and growth, but exempt a long list of items, including shrubs and even "plants". Go figure. Just another example of a badly written law that’s open to interpretation and misinterpretation. At least in this case the gardener IS a friend of the mayor and was able to reach some sort of financial settlement (under a gag order, so we’ll never know the amount). Who knows – maybe her run-in with the law provided the perfect ending for that book. It sure adds a nice touch of local color to the column I’m writing about landscapes and the law for a couple of Maryland papers.
Letting our invasive exotic loved ones loose on nature
E Magazine recently ran this story about a small problem in our wildlife gardens – our beloved pets. Nobody wants to be told to keep them indoors – I’ve been there – but the American Bird Conservatory’s Cat Campaign has suggestions for making them happy indoors. Mine are happy indoor cats but if yours are already hunters, good luck with that.