Woman’s decades-old mosaic of garden rocks and decorative artwork may have to go

27 November 2023, 20:24

Iris Logan takes a break from dismantling her boulevard rock garden in front of her Sherburne Avenue home in St Paul, Minnesota
Yard Rocks Minnesota. Picture: PA

Iris Logan has filled her front garden in St Paul, Minnesota, with stones, statues and art for 30 years.

A woman in the US who has filled her front garden with stones, statues and art is facing the possibility of being forced to remove the decorations after 30 years of collecting them.

Iris Logan’s home in St Paul, Minnesota, has become something of a local landmark.

But to a city inspector, it is a nuisance.

Ms Logan, 70, has been given notice to clean up the “planters, wood, metal cans, large rocks and miscellaneous debris” cited after a recent inspection, the St Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Iris Logan takes a break from dismantling her boulevard rock garden in front of her Sherburne Avenue home in St Paul, Minnesota
Iris Logan at her boulevard rock garden in front of her Sherburne Avenue home in St Paul, Minnesota (John Autey/Pioneer Press via AP)

The city council will take up the matter on December 6.

Ms Logan says the city’s actions forced her to create the mosaic in the first place because workers on a road repair project dug so deep around one of her trees that its roots were exposed.

She brought in bricks and dirt, planted flowers and added stones – and just kept adding.

“I’m a rock lover,” said Ms Logan, a former cotton sharecropper from Mississippi.

“I’m not going to lie. If I see a rock I like, I try and roll it in my car on a two-by-four.”

Ms Logan recently received written notice that a city official will recommend to the city council that she be given until December 22 to clean things up.

She appealed against the order in careful handwriting that filled six pages of a short spiral notebook.

The stones do not extend into the street or impede plough trucks or other city vehicles, Ms Logan wrote in addressing one of the inspector’s concerns.

Iris Logan takes a break from dismantling her boulevard rock garden in front of her Sherburne Avenue home in St Paul, Minnesota
Iris Logan has appealed against the order (John Autey/Pioneer Press via AP)

“I just want to make a stand for the next person,” said Ms Logan, interrupted by a supportive honk and wave from a neighbour driving by.

Casey Rodriguez, a spokesman for the St Paul Department of Safety and Inspections, said about 16 other properties on the same avenue also received letters advising them to remove obstructions to comply with the city code.

“Generally boulevards should be clear of installations or obstructions (benches, large rocks, etc) that would impede access to buried utility lines. This also keeps the tree roots clear and provides a place to shovel snow in the winter,” Mr Rodriguez said in an email to the Pioneer Press.

Earlier this month, a petition supporting Ms Logan drew 150 signatures “in just a few hours”, according to a written statement from Justin Lewandowski, a community organiser who lives near Ms Logan.

He is hopeful the council will soon clarify rules about portable planters.

“The quick support from our neighbours has been a clear signal of how much this art means to our community,” Mr Lewandowski said.

“It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about our identity and how we, as residents, engage with each other and with city policy.”

By Press Association

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