There’s a Plant Thief in the ‘Hood

I never thought it could happen in our neighborhood. One of our plants was stolen. How vulgar! I feel so violated, it’s like you can’t trust your fellow man or woman or whatever the case may be. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t that bad but you still take it personally.

I’ll admit that from time to time we, The Backyard Gardeners, have taken a succulent clipping on our nightly dog walk. I’ve even grabbed a lime from a tree with far too many limes for the owner to possible use. Seedpods are fair game for the most part. But to actually covet a plant to the point of taking it crosses the line.

Let me back up a bit, this all started with another neighbor giving away cobblestone pavers. We have a path coming off of the street to the backyard gate that needed some updating. So I filled the wheelbarrow with pavers and trudged up the street, my hamstrings reminding me that they aren’t in shape for this kind of abuse. I could already tell this was going to be more work than I anticipated – once again.

I should have learned my lesson about accepting gifts from neighbors (see the post “Beware of Neighbors Bearing Plants”) but apparently I’m a slow learner.

After removing dirt to about 4 inches and my back now reminding me that I’m not as young as I used to be, I leveled the surface with sand and placed the cobblestones in a nice little walkway. I wanted it to be inviting but not too inviting. You want your back gate to say “Welcome – and you do realize this is the back gate not the front gate.”

The wonderful thing about being hot, dirty and sweaty is that’s the best time for people to stop and talk to you and admire your work. Mostly positive comments and helpful advice. Like, “Nice,” “Real nice,” Very nice,” “Nice”.

Neighbors, Christine and Maritsa, chatted for a while and noticed that there was a hole in the path. My plan was to cut one of the cobblestones and fit it in the space to complete the path. As they continued their walk up the street, Maritsa shot back, “You know you should put a plant in that hole, that would be nice.”

I continued my cleanup and thought to myself, “I am going to put a plant there, if nothing else just to get a chuckle from Christine and Maritsa when they walk by again.”

I selected a nice succulent, Aeonium ‘Sunburst’, figuring its bright yellow and green would make it hard to miss. Adding a little cactus mix I patted it into place. It was perfect. Happily out of context it was just what I was looking for. Real nice.

The next morning I opened the back gate to check out my little cobblestone walkway. I had a vague sense something was missing, and then it occurred to me. My ‘Sunburst’ was gone! Rudely yanked from its new home with no effort whatsoever to make the hole look less desecrated. My immediate reaction was to think – I guess beauty has to be confined behind fences.

It's Gone!
It’s Gone!

Like I said, not a major theft but disheartening. I’ve replaced it with another succulent, Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’. He’s not as flamboyant but easy to grow and eventually I’ll probably replace him with a piece of cobblestone. Hopefully ‘Fred’ won’t suffer the same fate and live a long life. Nice.

Dragonfly small

Mary and Brian are backyard gardeners who like to share their passion for all things gardening. 

Visit them at TheBackyardGardeners.

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