DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines woman is fighting City Hall to protect the lush garden she has created along a parking strip.

Des Moines officials have asked Mary Farrell, 74, to cut back or remove the plants she has in the border strips near her home, the Des Moines Register reported .

"I'm a nature lover and introvert, so I spent a lot of my childhood in the woods," Farrell said. "I always wanted an acreage, but poor people like me, this is what we've got."

City code says borders between the street and sidewalk can only contain grass or naturally occurring plants.

"The property owner shall keep the border area free of any structures, materials or objects, except grass, naturally occurring plants, breakaway mailboxes or other obstructions approved by the city through a process provided for in this Code," the code reads.

The code was likely written to apply to weeds or grass and this case is the first time it's been applied to flowers, according to city officials.

Farrell's vegetation limits room on the sidewalk, said city traffic engineer Jennifer McCoy.

Farrell said she understands the safety concerns but that her garden provides beauty and has positive environmental effects.

"If I can preserve life and spark people to have a better day, that's enough for me," she said. "That's all the satisfaction I need."

Farrell's appeal of the city code has been put on hold. She has until Aug. 29 to trim plants that are encroaching on the sidewalk.

McCoy said officials may consider amending the code to only limit grass and weeks, but any changes would have to be approved by the City Council.


Information from: The Des Moines Register,