08/07/14 3:15pm

Tree Cutting at 201 Westmoreland St., Westmoreland, Houston

Tree Cutting at 201 Westmoreland St., Westmoreland, HoustonThe Waldo Mansion at 201 Westmoreland St. in Westmoreland, best known (well, for its interiors at least) as the terrestrial stomping ground of playboy astronaut Garrett Breedlove, the Jack Nicholson character in Terms of Endearment, is getting a bit of a haircut today. Tree crews have been working all morning to start the process of ridding the site at the corner of Westmoreland and Garrott of “many” of its large surrounding oak trees, a reader tells Swamplot. But only a single tree has been removed so far, as these photos show.


Terms of Dismemberment
07/14/14 3:00pm

STREET POOPING, WIPING, AND PHOTOGRAPHING IS BACK IN THE WOODLAND HEIGHTS Man Pooping on Sidewalk, 500 Block of Byrne St., Woodland HeightsAccording to a Houston Chronicle report, a resident of Byrne St. reported to police earlier today an encounter with yet another act of public pooping in the 77009. And it appears to be the work of a familiar figure from that neighborhood: that of the defecating, toilet-paper-toting man commonly referred to as the, uh, “serial pooper” of Woodland Heights. Back in May, a surveillance camera posted in a tree had caught images (above right) of the sidewalk hijinx of a man who, residents say, had repeatedly been defecating in and around the yards and driveways of the 500 block of Byrne St. A 56-year-old man had confessed to the defecatory acts after he was later picked up on a related charge of public urination near the Fiesta Mart at Quitman and Fulton  — but was not charged with a crime at the time, because “the man had serious mental health issues,” Heather Alexander reports. There’s apparently a photo of the man’s most recent exploits as well; Harris County precinct 1 spokesperson J.C. Mosier tells Alexander “there’s a very good chance it is the same guy,” but is waiting to receive a copy of the photo before confirming. [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Click2Houston  

05/13/14 10:35am

Man Defecating on Sidewalk, Woodland Heights, Houston

Fiesta Mart, 1020 Quitman St., Near Northside, HoustonNote: Story updated below, with further detail.

A man suspected of pooping on the sidewalks and driveways of several homes in and around the intersection of Byrne St. and Helen in the Woodland Heights has been apprehended and taken into custody, a Houston Police Department spokesperson tells the Leader. The story of the Woodland Heights excrement attacks clogged up the internet last week, with stories of the repeated front-yard exploits reaching international and local news outlets around the globe — but only after a repeat victim went to teevee reporter Jennifer Bauer with surveillance footage from a camera hidden in a tree near her home. The captured images (above) of the man dubbed a “serial defecator” in various follow-on news reports appeared to show the perpetrator in the act.

Perhaps the most astounding aspect of the arrest: The public-pooping suspect was apprehended after he was found urinating — on a wall at the Fiesta Mart at Quitman and Fulton, according to the Leader report: “Police arrested the man, who appeared to be the same man as the one from Woodland Heights’ resident’s surveillance video, and charged him with public urination.


Huge Relief
05/06/14 1:00pm

19707 San Gabriel Dr., Westlake Forest, Houston

19707 San Gabriel Dr., Westlake Forest, HoustonWhat’s there to say, really, about this 1979 snout-front home in almost-to-Katy Westlake Forest — beyond the sort things any visitor would notice? That the single-story 4-bedroom, 2-bath, 1,944-sq.-ft. home is well-appointed? Well-watered? Or well, absolutely stuffed with greenery? It went up for sale last week for $135,000. But is the home’s interior landscaping included?


Extremely Green Living
04/04/14 11:00am

O'Neil St. Community Garden, Sutton Square, Fourth Ward, Houston

The vacant lots shown here at the corner of Bailey and O’Neil streets will soon become a community garden for the Fourth Ward’s Sutton Square neighborhood. The properties, which measure 12,000 sq. ft. in total, sit behind the office building on West Gray purchased last year by an energy-startup accelerator program (at center and left in the photo above) and relabeled the Surge Shack.


Growing in Sutton Square
03/10/14 2:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE GAPING HOLE IN THE GARDENING DEMOGRAPHIC Garden Hole“. . . before you try to do something different and figure out a way to provide space for small garden plots, you should look at the demographics of your renters first. I work in the ornamental horticulture industry, and trust me, this has been a subject of deep interest in my business the last 5 years. To summarize dozens of surveys, fruit and vegetable gardening appeals to people in 2 age groups, the first is the 20-30 demo, and the other is 60+. There is a great big hole in the younger boomers and the Gen X folks who are middle aged, who basically don’t garden at all. If your apartments primarily have tenants in the under 30 crowd, they would probably pay extra for that amenity. One last point is that edible gardening picked up substantially in the 2008 recession, and has not slowed down at all. Most other categories of ornamental horticulture sales are flat or down.” [ShadyHeightster, commenting on Comment of the Day: Gardens or Parking Spots?] Illustration: Lulu

03/07/14 11:15am

THE MIDTOWN GARDEN PLOT THAT WENT FOR JUST SHORT OF A MILLION Midtown Community Garden, Baldwin and Drew St., Midtown, HoustonCraig Hlavaty’s writeup on the abrupt closing of the Midtown Community Garden has a few additional details about the fate of the 3-and-a-half-year-old garden space at the corner of Baldwin and Drew, in amongst his chronicling of the efforts of member gardeners to yank out their tubers before the property was shuttered: The 13,000-sq.-ft. vacant-but-for-vegetables lot that Swamplot reported on earlier in the week was sold to developer Urban Living for $975,000. (On MLS, the asking price was $799,000.) The company plans to build townhomes on the site. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Update, 11:30 am: According to this later version ($) of the story, 2 garden-friendly potential buyers of the property who submitted offers were outbid. Photo: Swamplot inbox

03/06/14 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: GARDENS OR PARKING SPOTS? Illustration of Oversized Parking Lot“I wonder if the city would consider a change in the parking ordinance where you need x spots per unit (or SF of commercial space) or the equivalent in green space. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re about to build a new set of apartments and I wanted to have a big garden where all tenants get their own ‘spot.’ Nothing huge. Maybe 10 feet by 5 feet. We were going to do this by not putting in much parking. But I found out we need a TON more parking than I thought. We were told we had to pave paradise, and put in a parking lot (oooh, bop bop bop bop . . .).” [Cody, commenting on Midtown Community Garden Sold; Fruits and Vegetables Ordered Out, Immediately] Illustration: Lulu

03/05/14 11:00am

Midtown Community Garden, 2720 Baldwin at Drew St., Midtown, Houston

The barbecue scheduled for this coming Sunday at the Midtown Community Garden at Drew and Baldwin has been canceled, along with all attendant fruit and vegetable growth. On account of: The property’s been sold. Harvest time will have to be quick: A for-sale sign  quietly appeared early last month outside the 13,000-sq.-ft. green space, which had been operating as an allotment garden for 3 years. “Just as quickly,” a source tells Swamplot, a SOLD placard was slapped on it. The listing, with an asking price set at $799K, described the property tersely as an “amazing opportunity.” A buyer has now claimed it.

How much notice would the new owner give the gardeners? Late yesterday afternoon, members of the gardening collective received an abrupt email from the organization’s president announcing that — by request of the new owner — everyone will need to get out, by the scheduled closing date. That’s tomorrow, March 6th.


Garden Turnover
12/16/13 2:15pm

New Garden Beds, Lantrip Elementary School, 100 Telephone Rd., Eastwood, Houston

Parents and students connected to Eastwood’s Lantrip Elementary School are showing off a new mulch-covered running track, separate wheelchair-ready path, and set of 12 raised garden beds on a decomposed-granite pad built this fall by volunteers from materials purchased with a $20,000 grant the school won in July. The garden-bed installation, pictured above in front of an older campus greenhouse, will also serve as an outdoor classroom for the school at the northern reaches of Telephone Rd. Also newly installed: a set of 20 new fruit trees with irrigation equipment sent by the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, in addition to the earlier grant from Keep America Beautiful and the Lowe’s Foundation.


An East End Greenbelt