Toronto paints itself green, but the truth will out. Deborah Dale is a biologist who gives seminars at the City about growing natural gardens filled with native species. She is past president of the North American Native Plant Society. Her own garden included 150 species including two eight-year-old fragrant sumacs, some giant purple hyssops, and four varieties of milkweed plants, in which monarch butterflies had already laid eggs.
Until last week, when The Clean and Beautiful City cut it down.
"I called the police because my garden had been vandalized. It's not the first time I've had plants stolen, but to have the entire garden been taken away ... After 10 years it's not funny in the least."According to the National Post, The Toronto Municipal Code requires all lawns to be kept trimmed to 20 centimetres or less. Natural gardens, those of free grown plants native to the area, are exempt, but one has to apply for an exemption.
Said the City manager of licensing and standards: "It has to be a maintained natural garden. This morning I saw a photograph of a maintained natural garden — it looked beautiful. But others have been declined in their request for natural gardens because it looks like somebody just doesn't cut their grass."
Ms. Dale said the city had no right to deem her property an eyesore simply because they didn't recognize the plants she was growing.
"The city not only destroyed flowering plants and plants that were setting seed for use by the North American Native Plant Society in their fundraising efforts, but they also removed shrubs, a red oak tree, and even the sign indicating that it was a natural, pesticide-free garden."