Natural Landscaping and Harsh Municipal Code Realities

| 8/30/2016 2:05:00 PM

Tags: city codes, lawn care, wildlife habitat, natural landscaping, Blythe Pelham, Ohio,

Goldfinches on chicory

Since I wrote about the disruption of our peaceful coexistence with nature by municipal code violation, a lot has happened.

Ohio Revised Code allows municipalities to serve letters of non-compliance twice a year, in June and August. Citizens then have 10 days to comply or the municipality can come onto the property to mow and weedeat indiscriminately. Property owners can challenge by asking to meet with the authority.

Even though I was told to “Mow it or get a lawyer,” I opted for a different choice. I slowly and methodically covered my grasses so my insects would fare much better — and, they have. I see nearly as many webs on top of my straw as I saw among my grasses (see bottom photo). Unfortunately, our firefly count dropped dramatically.

Natural Landscaping Pilot Project

I covered most of my grasses, managed the others to acceptable height, and removed the noxious weeds by the next scheduled Council Meeting. I also worked up a binder for a Natural Landscaping Pilot Project proposal a nifty way out for us all. I could manage the Project with monthly updates to a binder that would stay in the Village offices and anyone complaining would see that my seemingly out-of-compliance grasses were actually managed beds of native grasses grown specifically with the wildlife in mind.

Readers of the Project binder would also learn a little about each of the plants we were utilizing in our garden, both imported and native. They would see that the native and naturalized plants support local insects, birds, and other wildlife more effectively. They might also learn how we see our plants as utilitarian and beautiful.

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