Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Woman's Wildflowers are a City's Weed

The garden that is causing all the controversy. Photo courtesy: Yahoo!News

Flowers may seem like a strange thing to get up in arms about, but the City of Calgary is not happy with what one resident is growing in her garden.

Helen Amber's garden of wildflowers are a threat to local flora, according to city bylaw officers. In a Calgary Sun article, the 65-year-old said the city's actions were not just silly, she felt harassed over the issue.

"I feel that I'm being walked upon and not listened to and talked to properly," said Amber in the story. "I feel like I am being harassed by the City of Calgary."

Alberta's Weed Control Act states certain plants - or weeds, as they're called in the act - are prohibited. Amber's garden contains Canada thistles, scentless chamomile, oxeye daisies and blue weeds, all of which are banned by the Weed Act.

Plants listed under the Weed Act are there because alien species are "the second most significant threat to biodiversity, after habitat loss," according to Alberta's Invasive Plants Council.

Amber was given a prelimary notice and summons to remove the "weeds" from her yard. The situation has now escalated. Amber has now received a 24-hour notice that if she doesn't get rid of the plants, the city will do it for her.

Amber is currently away from her garden, instead residing in Sicamous, B.C. She's there to study the medicinal value of wildflowers.

While she's absent, her son Eric (pictured above) has been dealing with the persistent bylaw enforcement officers.

"All little old ladies in the world love flowers," said Eric to the Calgary Sun. "Why the war on flowers?"

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