Woman could face jail time over garden

ATLANTA — A woman could face jail time and a large fine over her garden.

Atlanta city code enforcement officers told Lexa King that her flowers are overgrown.

King told Channel 2’s Rikki Klaus that she’s been growing her garden for about 30 years. She beams when she talks about the azaleas in her northeast Atlanta yard.

"And since I pay the taxes and since I pay the mortgage, and since I pay the insurance, I figure I'm the one that gets to say," King said.

Code enforcement officers see the situation and her garden differently.

Atlanta City Code Enforcement told Lexa King that her flowers are overgrown.

"They said it was messy, said it was overgrown,” King told Klaus. "I said, ‘Well, this is a matter of your interpretation.’"

In December, King said an anonymous complaint led to an arrest citation. It details "overgrowth" in her yard and said she's violating a city code that prohibits "excessive growth."

"We asked him for a definition of excessive, which he could not provide," King said.

Klaus asked King whether she plans to cut the shrubs back.


"Not unless I'm absolutely forced to," King said.

King said she's fighting a bigger battle to protect the quirkiness of Atlanta’s Candler Park neighborhood.

"This is not about me. It's not about those azaleas. This is about our neighborhood and the way of life that we have here," King said.

Neighbors said they've been writing city council members on King's behalf.

"We're hoping for dismissal of these charges before Lexa King appears in front of the municipal court of Atlanta to be sentenced for her crime of azaleas," neighbor Scott Jacobs told Klaus.

Klaus researched the penalties of a court citation. King could face up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Her hearing is in August.

Klaus contacted code enforcement for reaction to this story. She’s still waiting to get a response.