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Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Name is Inego Montoya. You Keeled My Flowers. Prepare to Die.

I've been thinking about spring. 

And that has gotten me thinking about the alley.

Why doesn’t the alley want to be beautiful? Why has the universe conspired to leave my alley weedy and sad?

The first year was foolishness, of course. Tulips? Bad idea. Even with the soil I added, the tulips never thrived. An enormous number of weeds did very well, however, including an insidious vine (are there any other kinds?) that came in mid-summer and eventually formed its own system of government. Needless to say, it took over entirely.

That was, of course, pure negligence on my part. Graduation party or do the weeding? Go to a wedding or do the weeding? Sit with my eyes closed and the sun on my face in my backyard or do the weeding? Summer has many distractions, and they are all more fun than weeding.

But still, the alley bothered me: a 2 feet by 20 foot strip of land, the home of mysterious little vodka bottles and, sometimes, socks.

Who discards socks in an alley?

So two years ago I added a number of plants. Every Thursday, I bought a new plant from the Farmers Market, brought it home on the bus, trotted it into the alley, put it in the ground. It was going to be different this time: some lovely perennials picked specifically for their toughness and soil requirements. I must’ve had nine plants back there the day I wandered out back, watering can in hand, to discover nine holes in the ground.

No plants.

Holes.

They’d all been dug up.

My mouth fell open with astonishment, and I stood, motionless, for quite some time, trying to comprehend what I was seeing.

I hadn’t been back there to water for three days.

Someone came along in the last three days and dug them up.

I considered a world in which people came to your yard and dug up your plants.

And the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

Steal my plants? Steal my plants?

I looked around. Where were they coming from that they were in my alley?

There’s a tiny gas station/convenience store six houses down. They saw my plants because they were walking to the store. They went home and they got a shovel. They came back. They took my plants to their house.

I looked down the alley, away from the store. They live down there.

I grabbed a shovel and a cardboard box and started walking.

I had gone three blocks when I started coming to my senses. Who am I, Dog “The Bounty Hunter” Chapman? This is crazy. I’m going to take a right when I get to the end of this block and walk down my street back to the house.

And there, a block later, on my very own street, were my plants. Up there, in front of a house just three blocks from my own. From the sidewalk, I went up into the yard. Nine mostly-dead plants, wilted and withered. They didn’t appear to have even been watered.

Thieves.

I went up to the front door and knocked, loudly. Nothing. I knocked again, loudly. More nothing.

I looked around. No one.

I dug them up. I dug them up and I took them home, where I replanted them – inside the backyard.

Steal from me, will you?!

45 comments:

jenny_o said...

I bet you could give "Dog" a run for his money. Although his hair alone could give your hair a run for ITS money :) I am glad to hear you got your plants back. It's sort of weird to think that anyone interested enough in plants to dig them up and replant them would be the sort of person who would also steal ...

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Commando Pearl!!! Good for you. We have had stuff taken from our front yard in broad daylight. Now, it's all in the back enclosed with a fence and a padlock and motion sensitive lighting. Devils. Where DO people get their sense of entitlement from?

Silliyak said...

Any chance it was your old neighbors you wrote about?

Mr. Charleston said...

So... we're all waiting with baited breath to know how the plants are doing. That is, if they're still there.

savannah said...

hot damn, sugar!! y'all have some bold ass neighbors up there! good on you for getting what was yours back! xoxooxox

BrotherO said...

Bunch of theivin' plant haters! Good for you that you conducted a rescue mission. You know this is one of the first signs to a total collapse of society, whan others steal plants and leave them for dead.

esbboston said...

Did you just say your name was 'I Need To Go To Montana'? If you happen to take I-90, wave at my old house as you pass through Speared Fish, its just a few blocks south on Upper Valley Road, to the right.

esbboston said...

I reaLLy want to know why you are not a teleBision show. If they can create a hit from Seinfeld, they are missing something even bigger with you.

Hilary said...

Wow.. now that's bold and wrong. I can't imagine someone stealing plants from my yard. Well, especially my plants (weeds) from my yard (pathetic) but still! Good for you for taking what belonged to you. I would have liked to have heard about the confrontation had they answered the door, though.

esbboston said...

(I realized it is April First, I hope this wasn't a piece of fiction. But if it was, it was very good. My wife enjoyed it very much.)

Ruth said...

I know I have said people will steal anything, but I didn't think anyone would ever steal plants OUT OF THE GROUND.
Those people were probably afraid to answer the door. You might knock them out with the shovel. They'd deserve it though.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Whup their butts with a flat spade whilst you're at it! Anyone that steals plants needs some 'shed-ucation' by Lisa Bean & Co. April 1st or not....":)

Sioux said...

I think you need to go BACK to the house, and take those two crazy cats of yours with you.

Good for you for reclaiming your greenery. (What kind of person goes to the trouble to steal them, and then doesn't follow through by watering them?)

Daisy said...

Black hearted, evil spirited, plain old stupid, plant thiefs. I'm for sending Lisa Bean and Dolly after them. Hope the plants survive under your excellent care.

Friko said...

So, did they revive?

Well done, I had plants nicked from the front door and I had a fair idea who did it but I never did anything about it. My thief not only stole the plant but the ornamental pot it was in.

fishducky said...

Plant kidnappers should take at least minimal care of their abductees! Didn't they send you a ransom note?

mrwriteon said...

I honestly can't believe some bastard would do that. That's a terrible thing to do. Mind you, around here people come into yards ands steal expensive shrubs and install them in the yards of newly built houses.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Yo, Dawg, I pity the fool who invades your garden! Actually, I wish someone would dig up the all-too-hardy plants behind my garage, because I really want to replace most of them. And that weed? I bet it's the same one I blogged about a while back, but I wasn't clever enough to mention its own system of government. Totally apt description!

Susan in the Boonies said...

Go Inigo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eva Gallant said...

Vigilante Pearl! way to go!!

jabblog said...

There are some nasty people around. I'd be inclined to grow some spiky plants to deter them - pyracantha develops some really vicious thorns, holly has nice prickles and there are plenty of roses that have gardening glove-piercing thorns. They also produce berries and rosehips for the birds:-)

Belle said...

I will say my mouth was hanging open through this whole story. I can't believe that someone would do that! Sheesh. And to think you found them! I'm glad you got them back, but whoa, what kind of nut-job steals plants? You should put an electric wire around them.

Ms Sparrow said...

You are one gutsy gal! I comment you.
May your plants grow and flourish i peace.

JohnD said...

I always find it amazing how there are some people who will risk a criminal charge to come into your property and dig up and take a plant - mostly newly planted ones - that the could buy foe a few dollars at the markets ....???

We live next to a school entrance (well, a 'back entrance', anyway) but parents drop their rug rats off at the school crossing there. One day I walked onto my verandah and there was a lady, with a baby in a pram, picking daffodils out of my front garden -INSIDE MY GATED FENCE!!!! She said they looked so nice and I had so many I wouldn't miss a bunch (or two)!

She got short shrift as I pulled out my mobile (cell) phone and rang the local constabulary!

The Jules said...

So that's where the socks go.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! My heart goes out to you. Someone took my slice of pizza at the all-you-can-eat buffet once. It wasn't pretty. Indigo x

Gigi said...

The nerve! The absolute nerve! First to steal them and then ignore them! Sounds like a felony to me.

Jo-Anne's Rambling said...

The things some people will steal now we have all heard the saying if it isn't nailed down it will be nicked but even having roots doesn't make something safe some people are just to cheap to go and buy their own plants it is easier to nick someone elses although their argument would be that they where in the alley not a yard because honestly some of these people will use any excused to nick something....

Jayne Martin said...

Poor plants. I'm sure they were traumatized and will now blossom under your care. Unless the weeds they them. But the most important thing is you proved you cannot be messed with!

ThreeOldKeys said...

you go, girl.

i mean

Alley-vous, pearl.

oh, could you check for a black argyle and 2 different white crew socks? the little vodka bottles aren't mine.

WrathofDawn said...

Pearly, you're my kinda gal.

HermanTurnip said...

Yes, I can picture you with the long, flowing blond locks, leather armbands on both of your biceps, and oversized sunglasses. You call everybody you meet "brah". I can picture you toting a shovel in one hand and an industrial-sized can of bear spray in the other. There's a backup truck following you populated by all manner of relations, radioing you the go-head signal to knock on the front door, demanding answers in this topiary theft most foul, before retreating behind a thick cloud of bear spray, unearthing the purloined plants upon retreat before making a tire-screeching escape.

HermanTurnip said...

Yes, I can picture you with the long, flowing blond locks, leather armbands on both of your biceps, and oversized sunglasses. You call everybody you meet "brah". I can picture you toting a shovel in one hand and an industrial-sized can of bear spray in the other. There's a backup truck following you populated by all manner of relations, radioing you the go-head signal to knock on the front door, demanding answers in this topiary theft most foul, before retreating behind a thick cloud of bear spray, unearthing the purloined plants upon retreat before making a tire-screeching escape.

Vapid Vixen said...

Please please PLEASE tell me this is a true story!!!! This happened to us! They dug up the plants we had JUST planted in the front yard. It was infuriating!

alwaysinthebackrow said...

If you can just think of the weeds in a new way, it may make it easier to allow them to flourish. Weeds truly are just plants which have grown away from their rightful home. Feel their pain. Appreciate them. The Rodney Dangerfield plants. They don't need to be replaced.
Oh, and you must live in a very tough neighborhood of flower thieves!!

Leenie said...

Plant thieves just boggle!! That's up there with stealing babies. I'm GLAD you found them. Just wish you'd been able to stare down the perpetrators and whack them upside the head with a shovel.

However, I must also confess to relocating some plants left behind by dear friends who moved to assisted living. I, too, went down the street with a shovel, but in the dark, to rescue them from a forest of weeds. And I'm not sorry.

Linda O'Connell said...

If they'll steal your plants, don't hang anything on a clothes line!

River said...

Good for you and I'm glad you didn't get caught, that might have turned ugly. If you want the plants to revive you should trim back the foliage, that way the roots can use the water to survive without having to try and keep the wilted foliage going. New growth will come with time.

Tempo said...

...and did they live...or die!
I had an idea.. we have really hot summers so I planted Tomato plants in big pots with the idea of leaving them out through Spring then bringing them in when the weather got hot. (good idea huh?) Because they were green and in big pots someone mistook them for dope plants and jumped the fence and pulled them out...I never saw them again. I hope they got sick smoking them..

Tom G. said...

Damn Pearl, you got some Moxie.

You're like one of them hardy perennial types that can thrive in a place like the city.

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

Good for you!! Those jerks! That's one reason I hate city life. Give me country life any day.

Do ya reckon they called the cops??

Writer Lady said...

Good for you! Once when I lived in an apartment, I had a number of plants on top of a fence. I could enjoy them from my living room window. The fence followed a walkway.

Then one by one my plants began to disappear. I put an angry note on my fence that told people to bring them back. I said I'd be happy to give them a start of my plants, but they couldn't keep them.

It worked. Not only did most of my plants return but also another plant I didn't own. I met a few neighbors who asked for cuttings.

I hope your plants survive all the planting.

NellieVaughn said...

I would have replaced the plants with bits of coal. How dare they steal the plants!?! I've never met someone who would do that, or that it has been done to.

Craver Vii said...

Ah, but I miss living in the city. I was born and raised in Chicago, but I bought a house in the burbs. We have no alleys. I kill my own flowers. There's a house for sale next door. We'd love to welcome you here. I don't see many opportunities for flower-thieves, but my little dog barks at rustling leaves. Yeah, that's not very interesting, is it? Well, there are always other types of muses.

Jenn Jilks said...

Good for you! I'd do the same.
We had a lovely bird bath stolen on prom night in town. My late parents had bought it for us for a weeding present. I was so upset.
You go, girl!