Friday, July 15, 2011

July Bloom Day (With a Nod to Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan)

This is for you Julie, with positive energy, well wishes and respect.

It can't possibly be July 15th and time again for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day; yet it is. So let's dive right in and see what's blooming today on a quiet street in Chicago's south 'burbs. Not all the blooms are outdoors - for example, our chemical-free kitchen-table bouquet picked up last weekend at a local farmer's market from the booth operated by Homewood Kitchen Gardens, for the bargain price of $3.00. These talented women produce and sell garden-inspired artwork and crafts, chemical-free, artisan-crafted toiletries, sustainably-produced vegetables, herbs, fruits,and even flowers grown in their suburban back (and front) yards.

red pimento pepper

In honor of the Garden Renegade, a/k/a Julie Bass, I'm featuring some charming blooms that just happen to also produce handsome vegetables/fruits. Julie (in case you haven't heard,) is navigating the maze of a Detroit, Michigan suburb's code enforcement and judicial systems, and was even facing possible jail time if convicted of the heinous crime of growing vegetables in her front yard.
. . .

Royal Burgundy Bush Beans

. . . Apparently Oak Park allows its residents to grow flowers in their front yards. . .

Japanese cucumber, 'Tasty Green'

. . . Dear Oak Park, What's wrong with THESE flowers? I think they're beautiful. . .

'Derby' bush beans

Not surprisingly, the village has dropped (Correction: A judge has dismissed without prejudice the misdemeanor garden charge against Julie, at least for now. This means the prosecutor can reinstate the charge at any time. Julie emphasizes this in a new post today, and I wanted to clarify what I initially wrote. Dismissal without prejudice is not the same as dropping the charge.) Public pressure on the village was intense, and their case was shaky at best. Unfortunately it now appears they're harassing the family - the latest is a kerfuffle over licensing of the family's pets. It appears village authorities are abusing their power in what looks like revenge for the embarrassment they clearly brought upon themselves.

'Brandywine' tomato . . .

Kudos to you, Julie, on your first-ever vegetable garden, and for standing up for what you believe in even at considerable cost. I'm sorry for what a toll all this is taking on you, and I hope things will settle down and return to normal very soon. Positive energy is coming your way from all corners of the globe. Godspeed, and may the village leave you, your family, and now, apparently, your DOGS too, in peace.

Here on our quiet street in our typically quiet suburb, I'm feeling gratitude, realizing the peace we enjoy here shouldn't be taken for granted.

Although we have no vegetables growing in our backyard (not enough sun there,) we do have blooms in the backyard . . .

purple oxalis,

coneflowers (For the first time this year, I've noticed hummingbirds enjoying them.)

Geranium 'Rozanne'

fuchsia in a hanging basket (also frequented by hummingbirds)

pansies (still hanging in there in spite of July's heat)

Heuchera villosa 'Mocha' (I love how the blooms glow in morning sunlight.)

Stokes aster

mini-rose and astilbe

Spring Fling petunia, overwintered and blooming for its third season

jasmine - smells heavenly


pink and white astilbes

'Happy Returns' daylily

'Rosy Returns' daylily

tall bellflowers and bee balm (hummingbirds are loving the bee balm.)

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum

'Sunday Gloves' daylily

May we all be free to enjoy the peace, beauty, and sustenance of our gardens, wherever we choose to plant them.

To see more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, please visit our host, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Amen! Let the garderners grow! Poor Julie, zoning enforcement is great when it works, bad when it doesn't. Your flowers are lovely and a sound testament to how wonderful gardens of all types are.

  2. Your shady backyard looks like a lovely retreat, Linda--so many blooms. I can't believe you have managed to keep that petunia for three years--wow!

    I found my first squash blossom in the veggie garden yesterday and was as happy as if it were a daylily. Sounds like Julie's hometown could use some education on gardening!

  3. It's such a shame Julie has to go thru this just because she wishes to grow vegetables in her frontyard. I hope it works out for her. Your shady backyard looks like quite a nice retreat with all those lovely colors and blooms.

  4. Thanks as always for the shout-out, Linda! I'm very grateful to live in a community that has been so open -- and supportive! -- to our back- and front-yard gardening ventures. Would you send some of your hummingbirds my way, though? I haven't seen any this year!

  5. Thank you Sissy. Zoning enforcement can be a good thing, depending upon how restrictive codes are and who's doing the interpretation. Many communities need to be clearer in the meaning of their codes, and many times the codes are in serious need of updating.

    I'm amazed at that petunia too Rose! I didn't expect it to overwinter even the first year. It went into a pot with a geranium I overwinter, and voila, it's still here. It's not nearly as full as it was last year. This may be the last season for it - however long it lasts I'm enjoying having it.

    Ironically, one of Julie's motivations for putting the garden in her front yard is educational. Like you, she's a teacher by profession.

    Yay for the squash! The blossoms are as pretty as the fruits are delicious!

    I think so too Tina. I believe it will all work out in the end. The world is watching, and it will be difficult for the village to continue harassing her. The damage their own officials have done to their town's reputation needs serious repair, and the sooner they stand down, the better it will be for everyone there.

    My pleasure Kate! I just love what you and Nancy are doing, and Bloomberg Gardens too. Thank goodness for vendors like you. I was discouraged by farmers markets, going booth to booth asking about growing methods. You are a testament to the fact that organic growing works, and I hope with time more organic farmers will be showing up in our south suburban markets.

    The hummers have been amazing here this year! I was just out transplanting some chard seedlings, and there were two of them working the cucumber blooms! Cucumbers! I've never seen that before. Hummers have been showing up in pairs and groups here this year, Most years I usually see just one at a time. In a few weeks when the cardinal flowers bloom, we'll be mobbed with hummingbirds if this year is anything like last summer.

  6. Hi Gardengirl
    What an unbelievable story! I always thought that our government is strict and crazy but what you write here is completely nuts. The more I enjoyed your wonderful pictures.
    Take care and I send good thoughts to Julie

  7. I think it's nuts too Alex! I'm sure Julie will appreciate your good thoughts - the more the better!

  8. Such a beautiful flower collection. All are beautifully captured. My favorite is the yellow daylily.
    Mary Joy from Acoustic Guitar Lessons

  9. I have Indian Pinks too. They grow in plain, well-drained soil with about six hours of sun--right next to an Agastache rupestris: luckily they bloom at different times!

  10. Oh, and zoning--jeez Louise! Good for keeping taverns away from schools--but against vegetables in the front yard? Sounds like lawn authoritarianism to me.


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