Crime alert: have you seen this yarrow?

Sad to report my first flower jack of the season. Thank you, Fitchburg, for having more petty crime than East Boston. Seriously. What the hell is wrong with people out here?

So… here’s how it went down. Baby M and I had a lot of fun at Home Depot on Thursday evening finding sale plants. As previously reported, I’ve been working to lush out my Happy Bed and I figured — to get that crazy, spilling-over look I am so craving to achieve in at least ONE little corner of my yard (with flowers, not weeds)  —  I need MORE plants. MORE PLANTS, MORE PLANTS, MORE PLANTS! (My battle cry!)

So we bought four more multi-colored Daylilies, two awesome purple Gay Feathers (!), another purple-pink Bee Balm and four cool Yarrow plants with wee red and yellow blooms, called “Strawberry Seduction.” (Really. Y’know, somewhere, someone has a fantastic career making up these crazy names… in my fantasy, they work in the same office as the people who dream up nail polish colors. I think I want this job.)

Anyway, I was feeling lazy and overloaded when we got home and instead of depositing my booty in a more secure, private spot, I set all the new plants on our back steps, near the basement door. This spot is only visible if you’re walking past the side of our house and craning… peeking past the garage, a big maple tree and a bunch of overgrown Hosta. That said, it’s obviously no great challenge for the criminal eye.

Scene of the crime...not the prettiest place in our yard

Stupidly, I thought no more about the plants that day — I knew they all needed full sun and the crusty old stairs got some sun throughout the day. I planned to plant them on Friday, so it was just a temporary resting place.

The next day, when I loaded all the pots into my wheelbarrow for planting in the Happy Bed out front, I took everything but the Yarrow. I knew I wouldn’t have time to plant everything and I wanted to contemplate its placement. I think there were still four Yarrow plants there at the time, but I’m not sure. I was immersed in the task at hand, and went about my business, happily introducing the lilies and Bee Balm and Gay Feather to their new home and friends. (Side note: we’re looking fuller — I think we’re almost there!)

Later that evening, I noticed my husband, who thinks about EVERYTHING much more than I do and is a lot more cautious and sensible, had moved the Yarrow to a more secluded area… but now there were only three plants. I immediately guessed why he moved them. (This was the man who counseled me not to put planters on our front porch.) But I hoped against hope he was playing a joke on me, trying to teach me a lesson or something, mocking my obsession with garden crime.

Uhhhhm, NO. Not the case. (And not really his style anyway.)

When asked, he reported he’d moved the plants so they wouldn’t be stolen. He wasn’t trying to be funny. And yep, there were only three of them.

Thus begins my flower jacking season. (Not counting the mystery Celosia tipping.)*

It’s kind of a weird thing. I mean, this plant only cost $5 at “Home Despot.” It’s not the monetary value of these cheap little common plants, it’s just the creepiness and sh*#-yness of it. That some people have no respect for some struggling gardener who’s just trying to make a small piece of beauty.

It’s also odd in that, stereotypically, we expect thieves are plotting masterminds who target things of value, or thoughtless opportunists who help themselves to cool, marketable items left in plain sight. Conversely, we think of flower-loving gardeners as mostly women, probably a mature-to-old crowd. It’s a largely gentile pursuit, right? Garden thefts are so petty and trifling and puzzling…

Who the frick steals flowers? I am kind of itching to know.

Old gangster thug lady gardeners? Social-security-check-cashing, Top Ramen-eating, green-thumb-having old broads too poor to buy plants? (Or maybe they’re too old to drive to the nursery or Home Depot?) Is there a black market for stolen flowers somewhere, still in the pot with the planting and care instructions? LIKE NEW!

I do have to say, the Yarrow still being in the pot made this flower jack less bothersome, somehow. Maybe because I was not really attached to it yet, not having planted it and seen it amongst its friends. Or maybe I’m just blaming the victim… I mean, it’s really my fault. I left it out, in an easily grab-able pot, where anyone nosy walking by could see it.

Any bad person walking by. Sigh.

(*Ironically, my neighbor just asked me, when I was out working on Friday, if I’d had any thefts yet this summer and I laughed and said “no.” I spoke too soon!)


About plantkiller

Paysha Rhone is a wife, mother, former-journalist-turned-PR-maven and bad mamajama killing plants in the Victorian splendor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
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4 Responses to Crime alert: have you seen this yarrow?

  1. Heather M says:

    You totally need to set up a garden thief cam. Bait them with some cheapo flea market plants!

  2. Amy P. says:

    Student once stole a nickel from the “say please and thank you or leave a nickel” tissue box. I noticed and FLIPPED OUT. It’s worse than stealing $20 which you might need for dinner. It’s mean and petty. Students came to me later in the day saying things like you, “I heard you lost it over a nickel.” It was just so not okay.

  3. plantkiller says:

    Totally! It makes it worse that’s it something so obviously NOT needed and not of use to anyone. (I could sympathize with something that could fill a need.) It is mean and petty. And so weird. Maybe it’s a klepto thing, like there’s no real reason to take it, just an irrational urge and no conscience… 😦

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