Homeowner shares frustrating, months-long battle with HOA over butterfly habitat: ‘I know it seems extreme, but enough is enough’

One homeowner said they fought with their HOA for months over their right to keep a pollinator garden.

Pollinators like butterflies — including the endangered monarch butterfly — support gardens and the natural environment by transporting pollen between plants. To keep populations healthy and give them food, many homeowners like to plant native flowers, which are also low-maintenance and drought resistant.

However, sometimes HOAs step in to insist on grass instead, which is what this Redditor said happened to them when they posted in the r/NativePlantGardening subreddit. “I had to submit my second appeal to keep some form of my native plant gardens and it has brought all the rage back,” they said in their post. “I’ve been fighting my HOA over my native plant sidewalk plantings for eight months now.”

"I am sick in my heart about all the opposition I am fighting on this."
Photo Credit: Reddit

According to the Redditor, they’d been keeping the garden for six years without incident, and many people in the neighborhood had complimented their beautiful native flowers. They had gotten the pollinator garden certified, had signs up about the butterflies they were feeding, and ran education programs about the issue in their neighborhood.

But apparently, someone in the neighborhood decided to go to war. “Someone complained last summer, I think about my leaving the stalks but I don’t know because they won’t discuss anything with me,”said the homeowner. “Now they’ve given me warning letters, told me to replant grass in January, and threatened me with civil action when I asked for more time.”

According to the Redditor, they’ve tried to be reasonable about the issue. “I’m open to redesigning it, lowering the plant height, or other options,” they said. “But no one will discuss it with me. They just keep telling me to plant turfgrass.”

“I am sick in my heart about all the opposition I am fighting on this and all the other environmentally friendly initiatives that are out there,” the Redditor concluded. “I’m disgusted and depressed and disappointed in humanity.”

However, they did see a way forward: running for their HOA board to change the rules in their neighborhood, and introducing legislation to change the rules for the entire state of Virginia, like this Maryland couple did in their home state.

One Redditor suggested a way to drum up support. “Media time,” they said. “Talk to your local media and get them involved … I know it seems extreme, but enough is enough.”

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