Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Caring for Garden Extends beyond Own Property Lines

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Caring for Garden Extends beyond Own Property Lines

Article excerpt

With hard work and uncommon pleasure, I have created a private world of trees and shrubs and myriad other plants - a world I keep free of hamburger wrappers, soda cans and spent chicken bones.

But I cannot exert the same control or influence in the world beyond my walls and fences. And, unfortunately, it's often filthy out there.

Like anyone who gains appreciation for the environment by simply watching plants thrive and beautify without competition from trash, I resent the encroachment of litter - even litter that is blocks away; the enjoyment of a garden is diminished if the route to it is lined with trash.

Who has the greater right - those who want to throw down stuff or those who don't want to see it? Should individuals just worry about their own plots and ignore all others? How far does your garden go?

I know which side I'm on. No one has the right to trash my world - large or small. In a sense, all the space around us is a garden, and it deserves respect. Disrespect, like a virus, is catching; one litterer makes others feel it's OK to trash, too. Filth attracts filth, bringing with it a sense of gloom, decay and despair, creating a breeding ground for wrongdoing.

Given my attitude, it is no wonder I have never been comfortable giving handouts to people who solicit amid trash they throw down.

At a traffic light for the Ashby Street exit in Atlanta, men slouch forlornly among stopped cars, seeking money or food. Sometimes they hold signs describing their life miseries. Sometimes they advertise their willingness to work.

Over the years, my companion, Lyn, and I have tried various responses, ranging from just saying no to giving a dollar or a can of something to eat. None satisfied us. Then, several months ago, Lyn, "tired of seeing my neighborhood trashed," came up with a better idea, one that I have adopted. …

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