I took advantage of the overcast conditions on Saturday afternoon to plant out some perennials into the street garden. And since I just used the words street garden (along with the above photo) you can probably predict where this is going.
The next morning I went outside, looked over at the garden, and found a large gaping hole where a large, beautiful (so, so beautiful), and terribly prickly sea holly (Eryngium) ‘Big Blue’ had been planted the day before. I hope whomever stole it poked their eye out on the way home. No, I don’t mean to wish anything that terrible on them. Yes I do. No, but… Yes, but… No, but…
Ironically enough, I bought that plant (it cost $15 on sale) BECAUSE it is such a hardy, prickly bad ass mother of a plant. Surely no one would attempt to damage it in the way they have so many other plants in the garden. Little did I imagine that someone would just take the entire thing outright. And when I bought it, I also announced that this was the last plant I was going to buy for that garden. “Never again!”, I proclaimed. Freebies only from here on out.
Soon after I vented my frustration about the theft on Twitter, responses started to pour in from gardeners who have also had plants stolen from their gardens. Some have lost several plants to theft. This bewilders me. What gardener would steal an entire plant from another gardener to replant in their own? Aren’t we better than that? I’ve dealt with a lot of bull in the approximately ten years I’ve been growing that garden, but it never occurred to me that the damage could (or would) come from a fellow gardener. Surely someone who has put labor, time, effort, money, and emotional attachment into growing their own little patch of land understands what a blow that would be to another gardener.
I have long said that in the act of gardening in such a public space, I have learned more about human psychology than I have about growing plants. I have experienced care, helpfulness, interest, connection, and generosity from my community through the garden. But I have also experienced the negative impact of how messed up, selfish, aggressive, destructive, and narcissistic some people can be. When my garden has come under attack, I have learned a thing or two about myself — what pushes my buttons and what I can withstand. And I suppose I am still learning this last lesson as I keep announcing I am done and will never garden there again only to go back in and try again. And again. And again. Resiliency, stupidity, an intense need to garden, or all of the above? Whatever it is I am done complaining.
Yesterday, after we found the gaping hole, Davin went home and made a sign for me. Bless him. It’s a nice sign that says what I wanted to say but couldn’t. If I had tried to make a sign at that time it would have come out as a string of expletives. Since so many of you have responded with your own stories of garden treachery and the need to place a sign, I thought I would make it available here as a printable download. It won’t last forever, but should last long enough to get the message out.
Please feel free to vent about a recent theft from your garden below.