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What’s Yours is Yours, and What’s Mine is (Apparently) NOT Mine

by Fern on June 22, 2011

in General

Did you have a chance to read my recent post on growing tomatoes? Did you like the black pot with pink fleur-de-lis? How about my neat purple cage to match my purple heirloom variety tomato? I sure liked all three quite a lot. But that didn’t stop someone from stealing them. Not to mention my patio tomato and three unusual marigold plants. Bastards. I hope they’re bitten by snakes in the eighth circle of hell.

This isn’t the first plant of mine to be stolen, so maybe I should have been prepared for these plants to be stolen too. Last year, someone stole this succulent planter that was near my front door. Of course, they waited until the echeveria was in full bloom and the aeonium’s color was just stunnin. I learned my lesson about my front patio area. Only pots that look too big and heavy to carry off are out there now. But I thought that my garage area was safer. I guess not.

And the flag in this pot was stolen shortly before Independence Day. Love the irony in that. “We want to celebrate our patriotism by stealing from a fellow American.”

Have any of your plants ever been stolen? Come commiserate with me. :-(

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{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

gale marik June 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

that stinks. this might make you smile though. when i bought my first home my sister bought me 40 black tulips for my front yard as a house warming gift. there actually very dark purple , but looked beautiful against my pale yellow cottage house. i woke up to find they were all gone. i was heartbroken. 2 days later i was invited to a block party to meet my neighbors etc… i get to the back yard and in vases on all the picnic tables were MY flowers!!! it gets better, i didnt know what to say, so i just complimated her on how beautiful they were, when her 5 year old son walked up and said that he picked them. she actually had her little boy do it for her. i confronted her and she said she wouldnt have done it if she knew it was my house. needless to say alot of people overheard and left. i did take every tulip back and put them back in my house, where they belong. what really botherd me is i had to dig up a tree stump to be able to plant them in the first place, hard work. so now if anything goes missing my neighbors and i know where to look. nothings happened so far. what a creep she is. she doesnt even mow her grass so its like yah, you grow tulips. big dummy. so sorry, i loved your post and all hope you find out who did it. and i loved the purple wire. was it spray painted? there has to be a special place in hell for people that do that. to a lot of people gardening is like children, you get them watch them grow up and then show your pride. plant again, dont let them deter you for something you love. love the nanny cam idea.

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Deya Rairan June 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Terribly sorry that some bastard stole your lovely plants. I can see why, but how could they. Never have I experience the loss of a plant by thievery, but I have through a neighbor that did, and posted a “MISSING” sign of their stolen parley in our neighborhood. So maybe your can do the same and if anyone recognizes those beauties they can be returned safely back to you. Good luck

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Lisa June 24, 2011 at 6:16 am

Not a plant story but, my daughter lived in a very nice condo with great security, you couldn’t get in without a key fob or someone buzzing you in the building, and someone stole her doormat out of the hallway! It was coir, painted and shaped like an indian elephant, soooo cute (we collect elephants lol) So she looked at every condo door and couldn’t find it, must have been a visitor — then she put up flyers and to whatever
a–hole that stole her doormat, she hoped they burned in hell for it… I had a large rock stolen out of my front yard once, and some garden ornaments like handmade copper butterflies, once someone stole 2 bags of topsoil I left too close to the street. People will steal anything!

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Amy June 24, 2011 at 6:24 am

I once had someone steal the smallest pot of marigolds off my back porch. THEY COST LIKE $3 AT THE GROCERY STORE!!! Some people are just ignorant basta…well, you know.

Sorry :(

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C June 24, 2011 at 7:16 am

I did my undergrad at a college with a pretty strong ag reputation. I remember being told that the sago palms the school had were worth a lot of money and when they were first put out, they were stolen. The school caught the thieves and the planters now are chained to the building they’re in front of.

Sorry to hear about your loss. Karma will kick them in the sensitive parts.

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LisaK June 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

I’m so sorry. That is just so wrong. I haven’t had plants stolen (yet) but I have had someone steal my $200 car stereo doing $2000 worth of damage to get it out the night before I left for vacation. Karma can be a bitch and they’ll get theirs.

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LisaK June 24, 2011 at 10:07 am

Electric fence? And a camera, of course.

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Pat June 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

We live on a houseboat and I have not had plants stolen… but some CREEP came onto our deck and stole all my husbands fishing poles a couple years ago!!! I HATE THIEVES!!

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Katie June 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Aww that SUCKS! I’m sorry :(
I once worked at a Community Garden in downtown Cincinnati, and the most skilled gardener there routinely lost produce to thieves. The kids called him “Scary Larry” because he was angry so often. Larry said he was once approached by someone on the street who tried to sell him his own pumpkin.

He was a big proponent of putting barbed wire all around the garden, which the other patrons vetoed on the grounds that it didn’t promote a positive sense of community.

I could understand where he was coming from though…I mean c’mon…HIS OWN PUMPKIN!

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GoP June 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Yes, I sure have! Right off my front porch. The plants on the porch itself belonged to my Grandma and I took them when she died because my Aunt was going to toss them and my Grandma LOVED her plants. Then some suckbucket stole one of them.

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rebecca @ baydirt June 25, 2011 at 11:28 am

Boo. Sorry to hear about your stolen plants! Last year I had dahlias in a pot in front of my house and they were missing one morning. But then later I found them halfway down the street. I guess the thief got tired of moving them.

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South County Girl June 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm

This is why I always live on the second floor… they’d have to scale past the large German shepherd that lives beneath my unit.

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Mia June 29, 2011 at 6:48 am

I like that lol!

helen June 26, 2011 at 2:12 am

someone took a ten year old Ficus out of a very heavy cement pot by garage. The pot is almost 3 feet deep…they managed to get it out and then it was so heavy, they left a trail down the hill – obviously setting it down every two feet. Even the police thought it was humorous…Everything is in backyard now…no more pretty front…people are weird

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Judi @ Frugal Frolic June 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

So sorry to read this… it’s very discouraging especially when it’s something that you’ve created yourself. I loved the idea of the painted cage.. just brilliant! Is this a problem for your neighbors as well?

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Anna June 26, 2011 at 11:50 am

So sorry to hear about this Fern! I keep all my plants on my balcony, I am also a lover of being on the second floor so that noone can get to my garden.

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maia June 27, 2011 at 11:52 am

Any suggestions or experience with growing water lilies in metal tubs/containers? Pump always necessary we wonder?

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Fern June 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I’m sorry Maia, that’s one I haven’t tried yet. Maybe someone else will pipe up with their experience…

Sheree Larigan June 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I haven’t lost any plants to theives yet, although they love to lift my ornate plant stakes. I used to have a lovely two-toned brass and verdigre hummingbird that I purchased at a museum store. I still miss it. I try to keep all my loved belongings on the back porch now.

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Deborah June 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Fern, I’m so sorry to hear about all your beautiful plants and treasures. And the flag… isn’t that like some type of political incorrectness? I did once have a huge Sago palm in a big heavy Italian pot stolen right from my front yard. It had been there for the entire 8 years I’d lived in that house. then the gardeners came one day and poof.. it was just gone. Even the pot. Of course they didn’t see it when they came…

Gail Marik, I know it’s not funny, but your story made me laugh out loud. Some people are so dispicable! That was really low class.

Maia, I’ve grown water lilies and various other water plants and even lotus in concrete pots. The Lotus actually requires some depth so it was in a super 3ft tall urn.
No pump neccessary, though if you have mosquito issues you might want to add a small fountain pump to circulate the water.
I don’t recommend metal. It rusts and gets icky…
~Deborah

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Donna B. June 28, 2011 at 7:08 am

… seriously, I read about this stuff all of the time and it isn’t only infuriating, but it goes to show the humanity of people sometimes. Yes, there is a special circle of hell for plant thieves!
And here’s my funny story… my front yard is about 80% veggies. Mostly in the ground, I have a couple of succulent containers but they’re close enough to the front door that my dogs possibly discourage people getting *that* close. What I find the most funny is that I have my raspberry bush growing near my mailbox – but no one’s attempted to take a berry or two. When I plucked one and ate it in front of a person doing their after-work-walk she stopped me and asked what I just ate… I think it’s pretty easy to tell what a raspberry looks like [the bush was COVERED in ripe berries!]. This proves to me how disconnected people are to the food they eat.

And your idea about the cage is ingenious! I bet the neon foray of green, white, pink, and purple cages will turn heads! Hehe!

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Debra Bowman June 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

Fern, I am so sorry for your loss. Really pisses me off when people do not have respect for other’s property! Maybe you could put up a sign “Sprayed and maintained with Cyanide or Agent Orange!” Throw in a couple of skulls and crossbones. Too many people out there making my life difficult! That is why I prefer to stay in my garden. Love your website! Please don’t let this discourage you! Deb

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Kristine June 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

What a huge bummer. You must feel violated. I once worked for a restaurant and our 70 something friendly hostess loved to plant flowers in the planter at the back entrance. Every year some %#$*?! would steal her plants once they started to root and perk up. Man would that piss me off! My son and husband once dug up all my day lillies thinking they were scallions and tried to eat them. eeeww. lol. People have no respect anymore.

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Mia June 29, 2011 at 6:46 am

Plants, and the time we put into them are, are so costly, and so beautiful, perhaps they’re worth the effort no of alarming.
My dad was an alarm technician, and concocted an effective, yet simple, alarm for anything that could be picked up. It’s a simple circuit under a pad. The plant sits on the pad and holds the switch together. If someone lifts the plant(er), the circuit is broken and bad things happen (Sirens, a flood light….water and dye in the face). My dad used this sensitive lever and pad to protect the faberge eggs at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The works of art y’all have created are just as beautiful and worthy. Get a techie to help you out. The components are readily available these days, and simple to hook up; they’re low voltage and can be made pretty darn tamper proof. Let thieves know that YOU know they’re out there, and they can just go grow their own stuff!

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anna June 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

oh no – that is so horrible. i feel for you. earlier this year, someone actually dug out a flower from the pot i had in front of my house. it really upset me. i can’t believe there are people out there who do that. on a happier note, i love your blog – thanks for all the inspiration!

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Kara June 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I put heavy concrete bricks in the bottom of a couple of huge planters I had because I was worried someone would steal them. And no one ever did – maybe because they were super heavy. :)

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Jenn June 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I live in a historic district in a small, southern city and plant thievery abounds here. For a year or more, we dealt with a crazy woman who was off her meds that walked around stealing plants (especially the silk variety) in the middle of the night. It finally took another crazy lady (who likes to wear big hats and who pushes a baby stroller to carry her purse) catching her and finding out where she lived and demanding the police actually do something. Anyone who had items stolen were allowed to come over to her apartment to reclaim their belongings. Her apartment and backyard were a treasure trove of neighborhood front porch decor. She was dubbed “The Porch Thief.” Now there’s a guy in town who steals planters and sell them to the local antique store for a few bucks. He started small but he must have a dolly because he’s walking off lately with large pots made of concrete. And then there’s the guy who likes to spray Roundup on other peoples’ gardens. Oy. It’s not just the big city, people. Luckily, in a small city where we know all of our neighbors, we can gang up on them and (kind of?) bring them down.

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Garden Hoe June 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Surprizingly my plants do not get stolen but last year I saw a dude stealing tomatoes and apples from my compost bin! I looked in shock and dared not say a word : (

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Candy Suter July 1, 2011 at 11:32 pm

That is terrible! What is wrong with people? I am sorry honey!

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Hedster July 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Fern, your story is bad enough, but Gale’s tulips story wins :)

I had a neighbour once whose fir tree was chopped down the week before Christmas… ho ho ho! And I had a wreath I made for my front door stolen two days after I hung it – scoured the neighbourhood all that season to no avail.

Annoying enough when it’s vandals, worse when it’s someone stealing to replant

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Susan Wilson July 9, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I love the notion of a nanny-cam set up *and* an attractively planted pot of poison ivy to tempt the thief.

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Babydoll July 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

When I was growing up my mom had a whole section of purple iris. A local storage center had a whole section of yellow iris. As a prank, after the blooming season, my friend and I dug up a chunk of Mom’s purple iris and went in the middle of the night to the storage place and dug up a chunk of yellow, replacing it with the purple. We then went home and stuck the yellow in Mom’s garden (same spot). I thought it would be a kick to hear my mom freaking out about the yellow iris the next May when they bloomed. Time passed, I totally forgot. Then one spring I passed the storage place and there is this purple iris in the middle of the yellow ones. Sadly, Mom’s yellow iris never bloomed :( . It was thieving… I hope I don’t end up in garden hell…

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Erin July 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm

My tomato plant fell victim to a nine-story drop after being uprooted and tossed over the railing by a drunk girl. Of course, it was when the plant had about 30 big green tomatoes on it. So, so dumb.

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Fern July 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Oh no! That stinks! How did the drunk girl get on to your balcony?

Lynne July 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I’ve lost garden figurines that were right by my front door but the only plants I lose ( almost everything I try to grow) are to the four hoofed thieves…the local deer population that live in my yard. We now have bunny rabbits appearing in the area too so I don’t stand much of a chance of growing a lovely garden! However last year twin fawns were born in my backyard and I named them pansy & petunia because I knew that is the only way I will ever have a pansy or petunia in my garden. You’d never know we live in the middle of a fairly large city! I have had people steal apples from a tree close to the street. I don’ t care as they are really not very nice apples. But it is funny as sometimes, along the street, I will see an apple with only one bite out of it then tossed away. One evening I went out to talk to a man who was in my yard with a plastic bag and picking the apples. I wanted to let him know they were not very good apples. He actually had the nerve to pick one up off the ground and say “I know, look how bad this one is”. As I walked back to my house I could not help but laugh….I had a thief in my front yard complaining about the quality of the stuff he was stealing!

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Dena August 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I had someone (or something, but I think someone) steal ALL of my tomatoes, even the green ones, a few days ago from my very suburban garden in a upper middle class neighborhood. I am so ticked off. And a little freaked out that someone will be back to steal from inside the house.

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Julie August 9, 2011 at 8:06 am

A couple of my friends had a small potted bay leaf tree on their front porch. It was about 6′ tall, and it was in a heavy ceramic pot. Someone actually came and stole it! The next time I stopped by to visit, he’d drilled holes in the rest of the giant pots and chained them to the front patio’s posts with some serious heavy duty chain. It was sad to see, but it seemed to be a necessity.

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Ashley August 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I recently had four pots of herbs stolen off my front porch. I live in SLC, UT and am pretty ticked off by the whole thing. I am planning in a few more days to put up a big sign that says “To the Herb Thief (YOU SUCK), my brother just confessed to peeing in my herb garden while walking home from the bar each night. Hope you love that basil with a side of Hepatitis C!! YUM YUM!!” Which, no my brother did not pee in my garden, but to steal four pots of herbs – I hope they burn in hell.

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John Green October 16, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I work as an emergency paramedic for the Queensland Ambulance – serving the general public every day. At times I find the work tremendously rewarding, clinically and emotionally trying at times, though tiring everyday as I am an introvert.

Just like my work, I tend to take great pride in my garden & find tremendous satisfaction in nurturing nature, watching my plants grow; it is a rejuvenating process…. Sadly, I am growing disheartened and disillusioned with humanity. I have now had a total of six established daisies dug-up from my front garden-bed on three separate occasions!

The first pair to mysteriously disappear were planted well-back before spring, as little more than seedlings, growing well until they burst into flower early September, and then vanished without trace. I was initially disheartened on this occasion, but as stubborn as I am foolish I thought I would not let some miserable person get the better of me, so I purchased developed-like plants at cost and replanted, as to match in with the few bushes that remained; two days later another two flowering bushed gone, completely dug out….

At this point my good sensible wife, an Accountant by profession, served me standing orders, forbiding me to purchase anymore plants for replanting. I did not dare to go against her word and spent possibly more time than I should have feeling sorry for myself and questioning my general faith in my ?good? fellow men & women. To my amazement my good mother restored my faith, having heard the tail & knowing her son all too well, purchased yet another two matching plants and assisted in replanting, where they remained growing well over the last few weeks.

Every day following when walking to look at my flowers, I had half expecting to find the plants gone. I had only slowly again started to feel at peace with the world and to have adopted an appropriate psychological mindset about the whole saga, telling myself that “my” plant thief must have too little in this world, they must have been more needy than I, and that all they must have needed were four of my plants to make their world right. However, my “psychological mindset” is now in turmoil and crumbling.

This weekend gone, my family and I left Brisbane for a camping get-away in the country side. It was a beautiful break from our intense life in the city. Only having just returned today finding that the “my” plant thief appears to have struck again, digging-out two more of my flowering plants from opposite ends of the garden! Did he/she think I would not notice? I am now faced with the dilemma of what to do – should I attempt to bolster my current position and attempt to resurrect my faith, replanting yet another two plants, a process that is proving resource intensive on many levels, or should I just give up? Who will buy me flowers now, or do I dare go against my standing orders? Perhaps I should dig-out all of the flowering bushes left, and replace it with a boring hedge. Will they steal the hedge? The dilemmas number many… What should I do?

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Fern October 17, 2011 at 12:58 am

John–That’s awful! If it were me, I would get a surveillance camera and plant something really fantastic that the person wouldn’t be able to resist. Once you catch the person in the act, you can report them to the police for petty theft.

Stacey March 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I’ve never had any plants stolen, but a couple years ago my sister’s angry ex-boyfriend snuck into the garden. He ripped out half of all our flowers, all the strawberries, and snipped the base of the stems of the tomatoes we had grown from seeds. Since he was also violating a restraining order, the police were notified, but they said it wasn’t property damage because they were just plants :( He returned in the night to destroy anything we replanted a few more times that summer. Luckily, this behavior only lasted one summer.

That’s sad when people will go around stealing garden plants. I’m sure if they asked, most gardeners would be happy to share some seeds so they could grow their own.

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Eric May 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Well you think that’s bad try this I live in the city with well lit street and sidewalks over the years I had people ripping the Potter right off from my window seals and thrown them onto the ground braking the plants this happened alot not only at my apartment but other buildings were people ripped the Potter right off and thrown to the ground yes my landlord was very frustrated with this so I took care of the problem so one day I grabbed my drill and screws and my drill bits and screwed the Potter right into my window seals so that stopped them from doing it but then they started to steal my plants hmmm I figure out how to stop them from stealing the hole plant but now they just stolen a beautiful flower right off from my plant I just got these plants 4 days ago and no one touch them so I come home from work and that beautiful flower was no longer there it made me very mad because now the plant is bare naked with no flowers on it still a little plant with little buds on it wow can’t a person have anything in life without someone stealing from you why don’t they get off there ass and get a damn job and buy your own flowers ass holes

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