Another Citizen Loses a Garden Due to City Codes

During World War II, the government pushed Victory Gardens – gardens planted in public areas and residencies to help feed people during the war efforts.  Today, it seems that many gardeners are seeing the wrath of the government when it comes to residential gardens

Not long ago, I told you about the plight of the Helvengstons, a couple in Orlando who have been told by local government to dig up their front yard vegetable garden.

Doing a little research, I found that there are several citizens who have been asked to get rid of their gardens – or worse

Denise Morrison, of Tulsa, Okla., had a vegetable garden in her front yard in August 2011, in which she grew about 100 varieties of vegetables and medicinal herbs.  She also had fruit trees on her property.  According to the laws of Tulsa, plants that grow over 12 inches tall and are consumable by humans are allowable in residential yards.

Morrison felt she was within the law, but Tulsa officials sent her a notice saying they had received a complaint about her garden (seriously, don’t people have anything better to do?) and they ordered her to remove the garden.

Morrison had dealt with this before, so she asked that a citation be issued, so it could all be worked out in court.   A judge delayed the case until October 2011.

But, Morrison never saw her day in court.  The day after the case was delayed, workers appeared in Morrison’s yard to bulldoze her garden, including fruit trees and flower beds.

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Morrison’s garden may have been more important to her that the Helvengstons’ garden.  At the time it was destroyed, she was suffering several medical issues such as diabetes and arthritis that she believed the herbs were helping and she was unemployed, so the garden was a source of nutrition for her.  She says, “They took away my life and livelihood.”

While the original case was dismissed by a judge, Morrison has now filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city, claiming code enforcement officers destroyed her garden and fruit trees without just cause.

There is now a Facebook page called Rebuild Denise Morrison’s Garden where individuals can offer help in rebuilding her garden or donate funds for her legal defense.

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Libby Pelham

About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).