Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Inspirational Gardening

What has inspired your gardening? 
A trip to public gardens?
A family or friend?
Photos in magazines or on-line?
A story?

I'm in the place of honor 
on Grandma' lap.
There's nothing new under the sun is pretty much true when it comes to garden inspiration.  We all draw from others or nature itself.

I first drew from my Great Grandma Gift's garden.  We went there often during the summers when I was quite young.  The women had on dresses and heels; men in white shirts and ties; children in some form of Sunday best. 

There was always an abundance of seating in Grandma Gift's gardens.  It was pre air conditioning, it allowed everyone room to visit and children room to play.

Stores were closed, we'd all been to church, farm chores done and a drive to Fairmont Indiana was the excitement of the day.

Grandma's yard had a small fish pond, trees and lots of flowers.  It was large enough to run and small enough to keep us all together. 

Someone always brought a camera and I'm grateful for the many black and white photos - often posed.  Next to Grandma's gardens, her red hair was pretty awesome.  Not just red, it glowed that color often referred to as strawberry blond. 

My family and I 
at Grandma's house.
Being one of the littlest great grandchildren, I was often in her lap.  I like to think it was because I was so precious and not because I needed restraint.  In light of my seat of favor, I saw her gardens from a Princess perch.

I had a friend tell me about a survey of young children and the thing they listed as making them the most sad was the loss of a grandparent.  A good reminder the love and affection for our grandchildren is important in the very life of those precious little ones. 

It certainly made a difference in my gardening style.  I love the cottage look, the availability of lots of chairs and little grandchildren to run and perch on my lap.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Creep Me Out

Privacy seems to be a notion that's loosing it's importance.  People post their innermost feelings and thoughts on facebook, Twitter, and other newer aps.  Photos are shared on Pinterest as if it's check out time at the library.  Blogs share photos of places where there has been no permission to trespass let alone photograph.  TMZ makes a business out of prying into the private lives of the celebrity world.  Reality shows mix talent, private lives, and private parts to let us experience private experiences we would never otherwise be exposed.

Is it a good thing?  Do we have the "right" to see these things. Simply because we "can" does it mean privacy is no longer protected?  I didn't think too much about it all because I'm not someone who likes the gritty kind of reality shows.  I don't really want to know what strangers do or think.  I don't enjoy watching people at their worst.  I've always felt "celebrity status" doesn't mean they must put up with invasion of their personal space.  Other than my personal taste on this, I went on my merry way.

For my own photography, I try not to take photographs that show a personal portion of some one's home.  I don't go into their yard without permission, focus on their kids, show something that might endanger their security, or be an oblivious ass.  Sorry that last part kinda slipped out.   

And then something happened to bring this privacy issue to my front door.

Late one night while waiting for sleep to kick in, I visited Pinterest.  It's fun to see gardens and garden ideas and a mindless time waste I was enjoying.  I entered "Bishop Hill" in my search and while looking at the pretty pictures of our little neighboring town, I suddenly realized one photo looked really familiar.  It was our home.

Now I know I use my own photos for my garden blog and share some on my garden facebook page.  It's a way of exposing my writing to the public. I realize those photos may be copied even if I haven't given permission. I try to be careful to not expose the more private portions of my life to people I don't know or those that don't wish us the best.  

So, how did this happen?

First off the photo wasn't one I had taken and that clued me someone had been to our home.  When I drilled to this person's page, I found it was a relative of someone who does business with someone else I knew.  Once, while I was at that business, this some one's mother had mentioned she was going to visit Bishop Hill one day and would love to see my gardens.  She had visited my blog. 

Surprise! She AND her family member not only visited Bishop Hill, but, apparently they stopped by the house one day when we were gone.  Not only did they walk around the entire property, going through closed gates, they spared nothing in their desire to photograph.  They weren't photos like you see here, they were of personal spaces.

I enjoy other gardeners and I enjoy their visits.  We often walk around and discuss gardening in general and it's loads of fun.  Occasionally in this process, a gardener will ask to take a picture of something - usually a flower.  So they do and we talk some more. 

What's the difference?  First:  they are here when I'm here.  Second:  they ask permission to take pictures.  Third:  they ask permission if they want to use it publicly. 

Nothing truly private was published in the fifty or so photographs on Pinterest of my home.  I have no way of knowing if there are other pictures out there that are more invasive.  Did they look in windows, make a list of things to steal, turn over rocks and peer down the rabbit hole?  Frankly, it creeped me out.

I had a glimpse into what the truly public figures must endure. My personal space was compromised and I didn't enjoy.  I can't imagine how much more it must be creepy when the public feels it has a right to invade the privacy of someone who is actually of the celebrity status simply because they can.

So we get back to "at what point should someone respect an other's privacy?"   Exactly what is trespassing?  Can we have privacy and be a somewhat public figure?  In the world of instant cell phone photography, long range lenses, and the need to know everyone's business, have we lost our right to privacy?  Tell me what you think.

As for me I'm still creeped out and the term "clueless twit" runs through my mind...


Friday, April 19, 2013

Impatient with Impatiens

Impatiens walleriana
For those of us who simply MUST plant hybrid impatiens in our shade gardens, there may be some bad news making its way from the east.  The fungus-like organism Plasmopara obdlucens, called impatiens downy mildew or greenstick syndrome, has become so bad (called an epidemic) in that area of the country the major producers have almost stopped offering and garden shops have stopped ordering.  They will be almost impossible to find in the stores from Ohio east.

The varieties susceptible to impatiens downy mildew are mainly impatiens walleriana , but also  I. balsamina, I. pallida, I. capensis and I. glandulifera and any I. walleriana interspecific hybrid like Fusion©  impatiens.

This particular strain of downy mildew is a parasite that must have only one host plant and can’t move to other bedding plants like tomatoes and phlox.  It also doesn’t transfer to New Guinea impatiens hawkeri, Ganfare and the interspecific hybrid SunPatiens© impatiens.  It is believed the impatiens downy mildew isn’t dangerous to humans. 

A little history of this impatiens mess:  It was first reported back in 1942 but this epidemic first showed up in the United Kingdom in 2003, seen in a few US greenhouses in 2004 and became established in the northeast by 2009.  By 2011 it was in ten NE states and by the summer of 2012 was in 35 states.  Currently it ranges from Canada to Florida and west into northern Illinois.  The University of Illinois reported their walleriana crop infected in 2011.  As of spring 2013, it’s unknown how it will affect downstate Illinois.

Once it gets going, it will go through an entire community through and takes up to 3-5 years to finally get out of the soil if no new plants with this mildew are introduced.

New Guinea impatiens hawkeri
Basically, the disease will look like a white soft covering on the bottom of the impatiens leaves.  As it works, the leaves and flowers will wither, die, and drop from the plant.  Quickly the entire plant will die.  Growers are finding it extremely difficult to keep plants disease free long enough to get them to the retail nurseries and stores.  To do so, they are using massive amounts of chemicals that may not be effective once they’re in your garden. 

Once you have infected plants in your garden there is nothing you can do to save the plant.  You are not licensed to use the chemicals used in nurseries.  Pull all infected plants, remove with any dropped debris and destroy (do not compost.)  It is spread by the wind, water, plant material and by lying dormant in the soil until you plant impatiens walleriana again.  Right now it’s not known if ground freeze will eliminate the disease.  It does not spread by seed.

Most greenhouses in affected areas are only selling the walleriana variety in hanging baskets hoping it will not have the spores in the soil.  Some have stopped selling altogether and are offering alternative suggestions. 

Photo from Ball Hort. Center
impatiens Super Elfins
Has it moved into Illinois?  If you go to a reputable local greenhouse/nursery, ask them about this problem and their plants.  No nursery owner wants to sell you infected plants and their honesty is part of good business.  What you may find is the problem is already in your soil from plants bought through the big box stores last year.  Not that big box stores are bad, but they may buy the infected stock from nurseries out east (often Florida) and spread the disease unwittingly.    

If you do buy impatiens walleriana, realize they may not last the entire summer.  This is especially true if you plant them in an area where they prematurely died last year.  Face it, one of the reasons we love this variety is because it blooms almost carefree from June to the first frost.  And for the beautiful subtle colors not found in the other impatiens varieties.  Plus, it blooms in full shade better than mildew resistant varieties.

What to plant if you decide to skip impatiens until this garden fungus is under control from the suppliers?  Most greenhouses, nurseries and retail plant stores have a nice selection of shade loving plants.  Some of the obvious are Begonia (although more expensive than impatiens) and coleus.  Coleus has made a huge leap to crazy beautiful in the last few years.  The new hybrids are in many colors, designs and sizes. 

Impatiens walleriana was a huge cash crop for the floral industry and this infestation will severely hurt the business.  Do you stop planting in the shade?  Heck No!  Check out something new and experiment with something you’ve never tried before.  Think of this as an opportunity to break out of the impatiens rut and experiment with the new.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Shopping We Will Go!

A shopping we will go! 
A shopping we will go! 
Hi hoe (hoe get it?) the dairy oh,
A shopping we will go! 

Our local garden shops and nurseries are all open and ready to share the garden love. 

Ryan Werkheiser's Nature's Creations
 21229 North 500th Avenue, Kewanee IL 
Mon thru Fri:  9 am to 6 pm
Sat & Sun:      9 am to 5 pm 
Specialty annuals, perennials, vegetables, succulents, fall produce and all around good farm kid
Garden Party:  May 4 & 5
Jeff & Sheila Johnson's Sunnyfield Greenhouse and Garden Center
2440 E 2550 St., Galva IL
April-June:  Mon thru Sat:  9 am to 8 pm
Sun:  10 am to 6 pm
July-Oct:  Mon-Sat:  9 am to 6 pm
Sun:  10 am to 5 pm
Annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, ornamental grasses, flower vines, roses, wildflowers, classes, design, garden accessories and local small business neighbors
Open House:  April 20 & 21
 Jim Brown, Bud & Lisa LeFevre's Distinctive Gardens, Inc.
2020 Lowell Park Rd., Dixon IL
Annuals, perennials, vegetables, classes, art, events, design and loads of fun
Container Class:  April 20


The Lamb family's Dew Fresh Market
249 Tenney St., Kewanee IL
Seasonal open air market, annuals, vegetables, herbs, produce, grave decor, Christmas trees/wreaths and friendly family


Red Barn Nursery
15722 645 E. St., Sheffield, IL 61361815-454-2294
April:  Mon thru Sat:  9 am to 5 pm - closed Sundays
May:  Mon thru Sat:  9 am to 6 pm - Sun:  1 to 5 pm
June to July 3:  Mon thru Sat:  9 am to 5 pm - closed Sundays
July 5 thru Sept.:  Call for appt.
Annuals, perennials, geraniums, vegetables, herbs, shrubs, seeds, most things started on site, ducks, sheep and a whole host of down-on-the-farm ambiance


If you have other places that deserve to be shared, let me know. 
I'll share the love!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bee's Knees

I mentioned Ferlilome's Tree and Shrub Systemic Insect Granules the other day as a way to fight Japanese Beetles.  It works on these and some other damaging insects.
It's a powerful killer and there is increased talk in the agricultural circles that it's main ingredient, Imidacloprid, may be causing bee colony collapse.  Up until recently, it was thought Imidacloprid only killed sucking insects.  Now there is growing concern it builds up in the bee's system, through the pollen contact, and eventually causes their navigation system to stop working.  They can't find their way back to the hive and eventually the entire hive dies. 

If you read labels and reports, all chemicals have side effects.  Some good and some not so good.  Imidacloprid is very deadly to aquatic life.  There's concern the run off could kill entire populations of aquatic life (fish, frogs, etc.) in ponds or streams.

Imidacloprid is in many insecticides and it's use has increased when other chemicals have been banned because of toxicity. 

I have a real concern for both sides of the situation.  It's extremely difficult to crop farm without insecticide use.  Even on my little plot of land, I watched as Japanese Beetles devoured trees and bushes.  I've had two beautiful hardy Rugosa rose bushes die because they were deprived of all means of taking on nutrients without their leaves.  I expect to lose two trees:  a cherry and a my Mountain Ash.  Both were stressed due to the drought and both have had two years of serious Japanese Beetle defoliation.  These are minor when you consider entire fields of crops (a person's business) and the damage sucking insects can do.  I had hoped I had found the perfect control UNTIL I read the label and on line discussions. 

I plan to error on the side of caution because we can not live without bees.  Most folks don't really grasp that fact.  Without bees pollinating the flowers, most crops would never produce.  Without those crops, the entire world will be thrown into famine.  I know that sounds alarmist and over reactive and I try to not to ride the panic button. 

I also try not to make gardening mistakes that could destroy my grandchildren's world.  We've all made a few innocently.  We used DDT like crazy on everything from crops to kids.  It was the new wonder insecticide.  And it worked except it proved to be dangerous to humans, too. 

I'm always rather surprised (in a sad kinda way) so many chemical applications are passed by the FDA prior to knowing what it can really damage.  Any chemical that cautions don't apply more than once a year because of FDA warnings should tell us there just might be an issue - a big issue.

As a family that's been touched too many times by cancer, I'm making the decision to understand chemicals in the products I'm using and if it isn't clear or it contains possible harmful properties, then I won't use them.  While no one is officially talking about chemicals in our consumed products causing some of these cancers, I'm betting it has more to do with the amount of money spent lobbying rather than lack of evidence.

I don't think we have perfect alternatives at this time.  We all must breath the same air, often eat products without really understanding where they come from, what was used to grow them and what was used after it was harvested.  Some of the local organic endeavors are making headway but they aren't always perfect either. 

Bottom line is you must read and understand the products you use on your yards, gardens, produce, and bodies.  If there is doubt, find an alternative.  Gardeners should be on the front line of an effort to make this a safe world.  Being informed is a good first step to making prudent decisions. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


It's National Grilled Cheese Day.

My Grilled Cheese of the day:

2 -  1 inch slices of Texas toast (Use other if you like)
1/2 - sliced avocado (do I need to tell you to remove the skin and seed?)
1 slice of red onion (more or less as you want)
1/4 C - grated Gouda cheese
1/4 C - grated cheddar
1/4 C -  grated Swiss
2 - bacon slices - cooked crisp and drain & crumble
Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
1 - clove of garlic (peeled & chopped fine)

These are good on a flat grill or your outside grill.  Grill slow & low enough all the cheeses melt without burning the bread.

Mix cheeses (Don't use pre-grated cheeses), bacon, garlic and pepper
Generously butter one side of each bread slice.  Lay one slice on the grill (buttered side down)
Arrange avocado slices over bread
Add half cheese.
Arrange onion slices over cheese
Add remaining cheese
Top with bread slice (butter side up)

Grill until golden and cheese starts to melt and hold it together.  Flip and grill until golden and cheeses are gooey.  Slice in half and serve with sliced fresh tomatoes on a bed of lettuce, sprinkled with Kosher salt.

If you want to lower the fat content:

Substitute a lightly poached egg for 1/2 the cheese.
Use extra virgin oil instead of butter
Use one bacon slice - crumbled

A tip:

If you refrigerate a little olive oil, it will turn the consistency of butter and make it easier to spread.

Another tip:

Wear a bib, this can be one messy sandwich.  Or do the Guy Fieri hunch over, hold out your elbows and lean into the mess method of eating. 

If you want to spice it up:

Chop some fresh hot peppers (amount is up to you) and mix with cheese.

Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions can all be grown in your own garden.  If you live south, pop some avocados in your garden or in pots. 


Can you tell I'm starting my "gotta have fresh tomatoes" issue?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sittin' in Spring

Flowering Almond Bush
Spring in the Midwest is a beautiful 75 degree day surrounded by days of rain, high winds, sleet, snow and maybe a tornado or two.

Spring in the South is a beautiful 75 degree day surrounded by days of rain, high winds, hot and humid and maybe a tornado or two.

For a gardener chomping at the gardening bit, it's hard to simply wait out these normal spring events.

The most common question I've been asked lately, is, "Can I plant my Spring annuals now?"  My answers are always the same,

  • "I usually wait until closer to Mothers' Day."
  • "Pansies and violas will do well - usually."
  • "If the ground is so frozen you can't dig more than 6 inches, don't plant."
  • "Do you want to drag pots in and out of the garage on cold days/nights?"
  • "Seeds and roots tend to rot when it gets too cold."
  • "If you buy plant sets now and can't get them in the ground, they will not do as well in your garage as they will do if you leave them at the nursery?"
Forsythia bush
Alright, moving on:  here are some things you can do in weather that's less than ready for planting:

Clean your pots with a mixture of water and a dab of bleach.  If you've sworn off chemicals, use water and a dab of vinegar.  Scrub with a brush and rinse totally. 

Clean all your garden tools with the same mixture.  Dry and oil down all wooden or leather parts.  Put a drop of WD40 on all gears.  If you've sworn off chemicals, use olive oil.

Sharpen all blades or take them to a professional.  (There is a trick and talent to doing this right.)  This includes shovels and spades.  If you find a good professional knife/tool sharpener person, take your kitchen knives, too.  You will be so happy with better than new results.

Wash off all garden ornaments.  A dab of vinegar will make them sparkle.  I put most of mine in the dishwasher.  Some might break if they get too hot so do this at your own risk or turn off the dry cycle. Some things are painted glass not colored glass - they shouldn't go in the dishwasher.

Clean out bird houses (this needs to be done immediately as the birds are building for their new families right now.)  Put up any new ones.

Keep your feeders full - it's still slim pickins in the natural world and they need more nutrition when carrying eggs.

Get your lawn mower (and other lawn care machines) in good shape for the summer.  Check oil (if not a contained unit), add new gas, grease and clean.  Follow your manual for needed servicing.

Most lawn waste can be rakes, picked up and removed even during cold weather - if you're a hardy soul. 

If you're going to plant seeds, now is the time to purchase.

Any potting soil, fertilizer, moisture extender, etc. can be purchased.

Get a load of mulch.

Donate all decent garden equipment and ornaments you don't need or want to your favorite thrift store. They LOVE having these donations. That includes lawn chairs, tables, working equipment, tools, and goofy stuff. Recycle the things that no one would want because a thrift store must pay to have your junk removed from the donation.

Consider putting down a weed inhibitor, milky spores, tree and shrub systemic insect granules, and grass killer.  Some of these are chemical and some not.  Read labels carefully to make sure you don't kill the plants and insects you want continue to have in your gardens.

Windows and screens can be washed.  Yes, dirty screens will constantly put off muddy water onto your clean windows and when the wind blows it will distribute pollen and dirt into your home.

Spread granulated fertilizer around perennials.  Make sure you use the right mixture (All around balanced for most is 10-10-10 but it's not for everything.)  It's easier to get it around the plants before they get very big and the spring rains will deliver it to the roots without watering.

Do you have garden gloves, sun screen, insect repellent and a hat ready to go?  

  • Are you hoses still in working shape?  If not replace or repair.  Do the faucets leak - replace washers.
  • Does your nozzles, sprayers work well and have a thingy that can hold the spray in the "on" position so your hands don't become fatigued?
  • Does your lawn need seeded, weeded, rolled, thatched or removed?
  • Does any of your trees or bushes need pruned?  If you don't know what you're doing, either read or ask a professional.
  • It's a great time to walk around your home; does it need painting, patching, caulking?  Is the roof missing shingles?  Are the gutters and downspouts working, clogged, attached, running free? 

Pick a bouquet of spring flowers and bring them into the house.  It will be encouragement Spring and then summer will soon be in full swing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

That is the question!

Screen back porch.
To screen or not to screen, that is the question.

Planning new outside space or remodeling the one you have? 

There are many things to consider; one is if you will use screening.  It can make or break an outside space as far as usefulness.

Ask yourself:

Do you have pesky insects:  gnats, mosquitoes, millers, picnic bugs, wasps and bees - to name the most obvious and annoying in the Midwest?

Do you plan to use your porch for eating?

If you answered "yes" to either of these, I'd suggest screening. 

Nothing can spoil an outdoor experience faster than annoying insects.  It makes entertaining difficult and leisure time a constant interruption to swat and fan.

If your space is large, screening in a portion and leaving a portion unscreened will serve both instances.

Front porch.
Some folks don't like screens because they feel it inhibits the view.  Plus and minus:

The newer plastic screens in dark colors can make this view issue go away (almost.)  It's easy to work with and less expensive.  The one big negative is it rips and stretches easier.  This is more an issue if you have pets clawing at it or cats climbing. 

The good old fashioned metal screen comes in material that no longer rusts and is more expensive.  Copper screen will turn a lovely green patina but is the most expensive.  It needs a higher level of talent to stretch metal screens tight.

When my husband built the back porch, he built wood frames that fit between the posts and then mounted the screen to these.  It's easier and cheaper to install and if there is damage, the entire porch doesn't need the screen replaced.

Since I hose the porch regularly in the summer, the screen frames are about 3 inches off the floor but the screen wire cups out at the bottom to allow run off, prevent rotting yet keep out insects.

Taking photos from a screened porch will make them fuzzy at best.  Screened porches do stay a little cleaner because birds, bats and critters can't mess on them.

Our front porch isn't screened because it would seriously detract from the intended architecture of the home.  There are some periods in summer where insects make sitting out there impossible or at the very least miserable.  This is about the same time when the sun brings temps on the south west side of the house into triple digits so it's pretty much a wash.  During this part of extremely hot summers, the porch is used in the mornings for a cup of coffee.

By screening the back porch, we've essentially given our home a three season room.  We almost live out there in the summer.  Tables and chairs for meals, furniture for sitting and visiting, and enough room for kids to play.  I never wanted it to be a four season room - we have plenty of space inside during the winter. 

For those that want a four season room, the choice must then be more durable screens included with installed windows.  To make it less a chore, they should operate easily, be large enough to not impede the view, the glass should be glazed and insulated, and easily cleaned.

Our front porch was originally small with a little garden storage room attached on the west.  The entire thing was pretty much rotted so much had to be rebuilt.  There was no door to the back.  When we installed the double doors and windows, a screened in back porch was the perfect addition.  Here are a few photos of the process:

Starting the back porch.

New floor down on the beginning of front porch replacement.

Where the back porch will go.
Original front porch.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Best Foot Forward

There’s a new initiative in the garden world to get rid of lawn grass in front of homes and installing ornamental gardens.  It’s pretty darn exciting to see some of the completed front yards being shown on line.  We even have a few in this area.

A landscaped front yard isn’t a new thing.  Envision the European cottage gardens & most have lush front yards.  Examples are prolific in old masters’ paintings, courtyards and castles.

Somewhere in the development of what is considered beautiful, expanses of lawn or turf grass became the norm.  With that idea, massive chemical applications and grooming devices were needed.  As our climate needs and knowledge changes, many are looking for alternatives and what’s old is new again.

Front yard plantings should enhance your home and the street scene.  Simply not mowing your grass isn’t recommended and it could be a misdemeanor in your town.

Should you jump in and bulldoze the entire street side of your property?  That would be jumping into the kettle out of the fire.  This is a huge subject and not just because it requires work.  Today I’ll talk about the legalities. 

We all have a friend name JULIE and this is the time to give her a call.  JULIE is a free underground utility locating service.  You can call 811 or 1-800-892-0123 and it is answered 24/7.  They don’t locate 24/7 so plan your request for locates in advance.  What do they locate you ask?  Underground electric, gas, water, drains & sewer.  Digging into one of these can be costly to you in addition to deadly.  Go to their on-line page for instructions.

Once you know where not to dig, look up.  Do you have electric, telephone or cable lines coming into your home overhead?  Don’t hit them with big equipment, ladders, or scaffolding.  Did I mention deadly? 

If you live in a town with ordinances or a housing development with a HOA (Homeowner’s Association) you’ll have to tailor your design to stay within those rules.  The old saying, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” is foolish if you’re investing money in landscaping.  Plus, they can either make you remove the offending items or they can remove and charge you. 

Typically, when you buy a home governed by an HOA, you have signed a legal document with the purchase including the terms of that HOA. 

The larger the city, the more ordinances and the more detailed they become.  Larger cities have their ordinances on line and others you must request a copy.  Get a copy BEFORE you start.

I contacted Kewanee, Galva and Bishop Hill since I thought it covered different sized towns and also the historic district issues.  Most are common sense and most apply to the parking strip (that area between the street curb and sidewalk or sometimes called the Right-of-Way (ROA).)

Most ordinances refer to “right-of-way” and a little education works here too.  Cities and utilities most often have a legal right to use that portion of land for their specific purposes.  Most of these areas have underground water, sewers, storm drains, and gas.  Some have underground or overhead electric lines and transformers, cable, and telephone lines.  When you bought the property, you assumed the legal right-of-way agreement in place on that property.  These right-of-way portions can be in the parking strip, a certain number of feet from the middle of the road into your property, in an alleyway, at the back of some properties and other areas where specific under or above ground equipment is needed to serve you and your neighbors.

Your city may have other guides, but, here are a few general rules for Right-of-Ways or front yards: 

·         Plant no tree or bush that will get over 20-30 feet tall in the ROW. 

·         Don’t plant poplars, willows, boxelder, silver maple, tree-of-heaven, elms or evergreens in ROW.

·         Don’t plant a tree closer than 50 foot to another tree.

·         Don’t plant landscaping where it will block sight coming/going from your driveway.

·         Don’t plant trees & bushes within 35 foot of an intersection.  (Corner lot issue)

·         Don’t put ornamentals, trees or bushes closer than 10 foot to a fireplug.

·         Nothing can be poisonous to humans or animals.

·         Most require permission to lay cement or other hardscapes in the ROW.

·         No statues, flagpoles, seating, ornamentation or art in ROW.

·         Nothing planted that can obstruct public walkways, streets, and alleys.

·         You can’t change the grading by digging, planting, pavers, edging, and etc. in ROW.

·         Nothing in your front yard and ROW can be deemed inappropriate for the general public (including minors) to view.

·         If you plant on a ROW and they need access, they won’t reimburse for your plant loss.  

·         Check to make sure you don’t have to obtain a permit to plant on a ROW.

 Not too many ordinances dictate what you can have in your own front yard, other than the ROW.  Common sense is important here.  You don’t really have the same freedom in your front yard as you do in what is termed “the privacy of your backyard.” 

AND last but not least realize gardening tastes vary widely even among neighbors and friends.  What I consider a beautiful expression of cottage gardening and Eco friendly environmental development might be considered trashy by the next guy.