Friday, August 1, 2008
The end of Gardening Season
After I complained about my lilies being chopped off, Albie received a very angry phone call from our management company. My letter of complaint did not go over too well, it seems.
I had asked that the "landscapers" replace the three lilies they ruined in our back yard.
"They are not MY landscapers," Ms. X said in the message. "They were hired by YOUR association, and you need to contact the association with this issue."
A phone call later, I had (sort of) straightened out the difference between the management company, the board of directors and the condominium association. Even though the mail is sent to the same address, and Ms. X opens all the mail, Ms. X was apparently very offended that my complaint was addressed directly to her.
I apologized sincerely, she gave me some gardening tips and promised to pass on my letter to the appropriate people.
"The head lanscaper is a very reasonable guy," she said. "I am sure he will replace your lilies."
A week or two later, all unit owners were sent a bright yellow notice titled "The value of conformity." It states that "no unit owner is allowed to plan anything outside the unit either in the front or in the rear" and that all growing things around us are "exclusively maintained by the Association."
"You should not be putting your personal touch on the outside landscaping," the letter states.
It then refers to the by-laws (which I will now re-read), and reminds us that we all agreed to these when we bought our homes. "The objective of value retention is conformity in a condominium setting."
Although I am not quite sure how our value would be retained by careless landscapers who cut down beautiful plants but leave weeds and bushes untouched, it is now clear that all gardening must go through the three-member board of directors first (I discussed my gardening plans with a lady on the board of directors back in May, so perhaps I am in the clear).
I'm still not 100 percent sure my lily letter was the cause of this, and one part of the letter highlights "front lawn & trees," and I know we haven't done anything there. Perhaps there have been others.
Now I am just curious to see how many people will remove "all items located in the above areas" within two weeks - the lady with a beautiful garden on a slope facing her unit, our neighbor with a staggered garden going off her deck, and all residents with American flags on the front stoop.
Two things are for sure: I will never ever lift a hand to water the lawn - front or back. And my garden is staying put.