Return of the Flower Thief

The flower thief appears to have returned, this time with a vengeance, I noticed as I was watering the flowers the other day.

When I moved into my new house, the garden was rather overgrown with weeds. After a couple of determined days of weeding, I had stripped the weeds away to reveal what I had to work with. As it turns out, I have an assortment of well established trees, such as the mysterious fruit tree and the Japanese maples, along with an assortment of flowers. But I was left with several stretches of empty, sad looking soil. So, on Wednesday, I went to store and got some lobelia, alyssum, and verbena.

I planted the lobelia and some of the verbena inside my yard proper. The hope is that the lobelia will spread, creating a solid mass of flowery goodness, and that the verbena will distribute itself into a flowered border. I planted the rest of the verbena and the alyssum right outside the fence, in two large flower beds which border my parking space. Since alyssum grows wild around here, I figure it should take over the smaller bed fairly quickly, thus eliminating the need for me to weed, landscape, or do anything with it. Hooray.

So, on Friday, I watered the fresh transplants, and discovered to my surprise that one of the alyssum plants was gone. Ripped out bodily, indeed, with a pathetic attempt to scrape the soil back over the gaping hole. My reaction was a sense of visceral sadness and confusion, which never really reached the state of anger.

You see, the plant was one of a $2.00 six pack. So, all told, it was around 33 cents of flower. Which raised the question, for me, of why anyone would think it was necessary to steal it. I mean…it also grows wild abundantly around this part of town, so someone could just as easily have ripped it out of the ground in a public space, rather than wrenching an obviously freshly planted flower out of a flowerbed. But, more to the point, this person could have gone to the store and purchased alyssum of their very own to plant.

There was also a sense of violation and sadness, for me, at the thought of the lack of respect involved there. One of the things I like about this part of town is the abundance of beautiful gardens. I love wandering around looking at all of these amazingly lush plantings and beautiful flowers. I have asked a couple of people for cuttings, so that I can try to start my own. But I cannot imagine taking a plant that someone else had obviously planted out of the ground. Especially such a pathetic and spindly little plant as this alyssum was.

I tried to rationalize it, momentarily, wondering if perhaps an animal had torn the plant up. But an animal would not scrape the soil back over to try and hide it. More to the point, I feel like an animal would have torn up the whole bed. And it wasn’t a gopher, either, because the bed is lined with bricks.

Who did it, and why? I don’t suspect that I will ever know, and that makes me a little sad as well. I am going to wait a couple of days to see if this was an isolated incident. If it was, and I sincerely hope so, I will replant something there, to fill the hole. Unfortunately, the sense of dismay and confusion will not be so easy to repair.