Native Garden Registry Get the Green Thumb from City Council | Chicago News


Native plants are very beneficial to the environment, but are often confused with weeds. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The wheels of government may turn slowly, but they do eventually turn.

It has been almost 10 years since Kathy Cummings was fined $ 600 for breaking city weed bylaws in 2012. The “weeds” in question were many of the same plants that won her issue. one in the native category in 2004. It is sponsored by the Chicago Environment Department’s now abolished Mayor’s Landscape Awards program.

On Tuesday, the city council unanimously adopted Ordinance establishing a register of gardens for indigenous and pollen materialsIn short, gardeners like Cummings are protected from enthusiastic bloggers. And plants like milkweed can occupy a rightful position alongside other “flowers” without being confused with weeds.

“It’s time for native gardens to thrive and allow people to do so without fear of being named,” Aldo said. Brian Hopkins (District 2) who led the ordinance throughout the legislative process.

Since the notion of The registry was first proposed in early 2021Hopkins worked with members of the horticultural and conservation community to refine the wording of the ordinance, a process welcomed by participants.

As a result, fairer and more comprehensive legislation was enacted, expanding the registry to include community gardens as well as residential landscaping, said Lorraine Kels, co-chair of the Chicago Community Gardeners Association.

“This is the first time that a community gardener has come to the table,” Kells said.

Other changes included adding the term “pollen-friendly” to the prescription. Another regulation allows plants over 10 inches, which is specified as the maximum height by existing weed regulations, at least on private land.

The new law also requires the establishment of an advisory board to review registration applications and complaints and make recommendations to the Ministry of Health when overseeing the registry. Council members are appointed by the mayor.

The maximum fine for gardens that do not meet registry guidelines is $ 100.

For those concerned that the registry could lead to overgrown vacant land, the ordinance must occupy real estate to qualify, according to Ray Phillips Santos of the city’s legal department. Precisely the states.

The law also specifies that the garden must be “intentional”. Seeds should be sown intentionally and plants should be placed intentionally. In addition, “the owners must be able to identify the plants contained in the garden”.

The law must enter into force within 10 days of its adoption.

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 | [email protected]


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