I also realize that, for (too) many people there is a real concern over losing their homes if they step outside that well-defined box. There have been cases where people have actually been fined tens of thousands of dollars by their HOAs for planting too many rose bushes (and to be clear, I don't know about the particular variety of rose bushes this homeowner planted, but if roses behave like other brambles, they are really difficult to "control", and once they're established, getting rid of them is a nightmare fit for Elm Street).
Personally, I wouldn't want to live in neighborhood like that, but when I purchased my house I wasn't worrying about things like HOAs (although I do recall that being able to plant a garden was on the list of requirements for any place we chose to live). If we could have afforded to buy a house in a more posh neighborhood, we might have. I guess in this instance being not-so well-off worked in our favor ;).
While I haven't ever been limited by rules against planting one thing or another, Deus Ex Machina has always
In addition, the layout of my land (and my own ignorance) has hindered my choices of what could be planted. Specifically, a significant part of my yard is shaded through most of the summer. When I start looking for edible perennial plants that could survive in the sun-starved parts of my yard, I'm left with very few choices.
A comment by a fellow permaculturist in my local area led me on an Internet search, where I found a great deal of information (mostly anecdotal, but what the hell!) to confirm what this person said: apparently, hostas are edible.
You could just blow me away with a straw!
The best part about this news is that hostas are easy to find and widely available in my area. Everyone has hostas. Every garden center. Every yard. Until now, I always thought it was a bit short-sighted to devote so much garden space to a plant that had little value above being beautiful (and a healthy hosta is very beautiful).
Now, that I know I can eat them, Hostas will take a more prominent place in my garden ... and even if I don't eat them, I know (through bitter experience) that the ducks can ... and do - right down to the ground!
And if the ducks can eat them, perhaps, the rabbits can eat them, too ... and if I grow a huge patch of hostas and use them to feed the rabbits and ducks, then, I'm one step closer to being self-sufficient ;).