We live in a cute little neighborhood of three-story brick townhouses. Each townhouse has a front stoop with wrought-iron detail work and an individual lamp post. We were drawn to the neighborhood because it had great charm and curb appeal.
After we moved in, we realized that many of the other homes were rental units. It has been disappointing to us, because turnover is high and the renters haven't been as concerned with general upkeep of the homes. (Case in point, the trash can that our neighbors left out in an ice storm. It stayed frozen for weeks until I went out - 8 months pregnant - to pry it free. It then sat outside for another two months before the neighbors finally brought it in.)
Over the last few months, the 80 year old grandmother of the family next us has planted a garden in their back yard. At first, the garden was a welcome improvement over the knee-high grass of the previous tenants. That is, until we looked closely at the garden's contents. Zucchini. Tomatoes. Peppers. Marijuana.
Over the summer months, friends would come over to grill out and comment about the "suspicious" looking plants in our neighbors' garden. Over the weekend, we noticed a similar "plant" had sprouted up in their front yard near the sidewalk. Evan plays on the sidewalk, he is fascinated by leaves, we carefully watch him but he has been known to chew and swallow a stray leaf from time-to-time. Having said "plant" in the front yard is concerning to me. It can't be helping our resale value much either.
So, on Monday morning, I called the Fairfax County PD and snitched on my neighbors. They sent two officers over to our house. The first officer mentioned that he was happy to come and take a look, but that the plants were probably just tomato plants. (I would have been very embarrassed if they were, indeed, tomato plants!) The officers looked over our deck on to the garden below. From the distance, it was difficult to tell exactly what the plants were. But, the officers confirmed that they were definitely NOT tomato plants.
They suggested that we refer to pictures of marijuana plants online. So, we used our Wii gaming system to pull up the pictures in my living room. (Now, I was concerned that the officers didn't just KNOW what the "plant" looks like. But, they assured me that they primarily deal with it AFTER it has been processed, not during the growth stages. Whatever.) The website we used had an advertisement with a half-naked woman along the right side. I quickly distracted Evan with a copy of "Mr. Brown can Moo, can You?" and we went back to the photos. Admittedly, it was a pretty funny sight, me and the two officers reviewing photos of marijuana in my living room.
The plants had five leaves and looked similar to the pictures, but they did not appear to have the "buds" that many of the photos showed. The officers decided to take some pictures of the plants and let the narcotics agents review them. Before they left, I also mentioned that there is a lone "plant" in their front planter that looks like the other "plants". The officers thanked me for calling, gave Evan a "Junior Fairfax County Police Officer" badge and said they would follow up.
I closed the door and two minutes later there was a knock on the door. I opened the door to one of the officers. Before I could say anything, he said "It is TOTALLY marijuana!". Vindicated at last! NOT tomato plants! Not just five-leaf ornamental plants! I was a good citizen! I was protecting my family! I was snitching on my nice neighbors... :(
Upon closer inspection, the "plants" in the front of the yard had the appropriate leaves, but they also had the "buds" that were not apparent from a distance on the plants in the back yard. Closer inspection also revealed that the "plants" were growing all over in the planting bed by the charming front stoop with the wrought-iron detail work and the individual lamp post. Charming indeed...
Here are a few pictures from our adventure...