Army veteran, 80, in stand-off with council after refusing to chop down wildflower garden

·2-min read
Dennis Moriarty posted pictures of his garden online - Instagram
Dennis Moriarty posted pictures of his garden online - Instagram

An 80-year-old US military veteran in Kansas who planted wildflowers in his garden to attract bees before being ordered to mow them down by the city council has united gardeners around the world in anger.

Dennis Moriarty planted over 1,000 sq ft of milkweed and echinacea to encourage more bees, butterflies and other pollinators to the area, but was told he was in violation of city codes as they had grown taller than 12 inches.

Mr Moriarty was given a warning last week for violating a city code that prohibits the overgrowth of “rank weeds and noxious plants” and told he could face a court appearance.

However, Mr Moriaty argues the native flowers are not weeds and that getting rid of them would damage the ecosystem.

Mr Moriaty planted the flowers last year during Covid lockdown to brighten his garden and in the hope of bringing back bees, which had long been absent from the area.

A photograph of his garden shows pink, orange and yellow flowers blooming.

flowers
flowers

“I was doing it for my neighbourhood, not just for myself," he told the local Kansas public radio station. "It’s fun to sit out here on this porch and watch the plants dance.”

“I am an 80-year-old army veteran and environmentalist who planted 10 native wildflowers species on my front terrace and now KC CODES has photographed as weeds and I'll be hauled to court,” he wrote in a tweet that was liked 24,000 times. “These are flowers planted specifically to support bees, hummingbirds, butterflies... I'm disgusted.”

He has received messages of support from as far away as the UK and Australia. “Pollinators are our friends,” wrote one supporter.

Mr Moriarty said he does not want to trim his wildflowers, nor does he want a court battle or a fine.

“They need to change their codes to reflect the fact that we need to take care of our environment," he said.

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