For the better part of two decades, Susan McKee had nurtured a garden of perennials in front of her London, Ont. home. When she returned from vacation earlier this month, she says all that hard work had been destroyed.
“Shock. Just shock,” she told CTV News. “What happened to my flowers?”
Initially, she thought her garden had been vandalized, so she called police. She said she later contacted the city and was told it was a by-law issue because of a neighbour’s complaint.
McKee’s front yard was almost entirely covered in perennial wildflowers, with barely any grass. She believed her yard would be protected through an exemption in the city’s yard and maintenance by-law which states it “does not apply to perennial gardens, provided [they] are managed in accordance with the Weed Control Act.”
In a statement, the city said it doesn’t comment on specific by-law contraventions, but said all yard complaints go through a clearly defined process in accordance with the Weed Control Act.
The city did not provide specifics on whether McKee’s yard ran afoul of the Weed Control Act.
Perennial gardens have many benefits for local wildlife, according to experts.
“Having all the diversity is extremely important,” says Western University biology professor Jeremy McNeil. “I mean, the worst thing out of it all is a lawn.”
He says he doesn’t have any grass at his house, and his front and backyards are filled with perennials to help insects like butterflies and bees.
This is a sentiment McKee also agrees with.
“The bugs are in crisis,” she says. “So if I can feed all the little critters here as much as I can, then I’ll do my little part.”
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