Most hobbies require time and effort to produce something nice. Whether it’s knitting, fixing cars or gardening, it’s always rewarding to see the finished product you made with your own hands. So it’s perfectly understandable to get upset with others when they disrespect your work by destroying what you made.
What can be some good strategies to get back at people for doing that? This Redditor thought that publicly shaming the culprits was the best way. They decided to punish those who stole from their mom’s garden by putting them on the neighborhood ‘wall of shame.‘ The OP asked other netizens whether they went a bit too far since some neighbors had complaints.
A well-tended garden is the pride and joy of any gardening enthusiast
Image credits: maginnislaura / Envato (not the actual photo)
So it’s understandable some people would want to get revenge on those who ruin their hard work
Image credits: astrakanimages / Envato (not the actual photo)
Image credits: winmdoze
Stealing from someone else’s garden is a punishable offense
Image credits: Leigh Patrick / Pexels (not the actual photo)
Passionate gardeners know that it’s utterly heartbreaking to walk out into your yard one day and see desecrated flower beds and pots. Some people may think there’s nothing wrong with cutting a rose or two off a bush. Because plants are outside, one may think it’s public property. In reality, that’s theft as any other.
It’s not just time and energy that gardeners put into their plants. They also cost money – some can even be worth hundreds of dollars. Fancier varieties get sold on Facebook Market or eBay for as much as $1,000.
In the US – Ohio, for example – the fine for destroying, mutilating or cutting down any plants or produce results in a $100 fine. Seattle-based lawyer firm Lewis&Laws writes that stealing a plant or a tree is a property crime. The thief would receive not only trespassing charges but would have to compensate the owner for the value of the plant.
Here’s where it gets trickier. It’s not always so easy to evaluate how much a plant is worth. In terms of trees, there might be additional considerations, like how much carbon it offsets and other ecological factors.
Lewis&Laws write about a case where neighbors removed some trees from a greenbelt. The value of these trees turned out to be worth almost $5 billion. That’s a Class B felony – stealing anything worth more than $5,000. The punishment for this theft of first-degree can be up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000.
In Australia, stealing plants, roots, vegetables or fruit can cost you up to AU$550 or a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment. Peter Leon, corporate communication coordinator of the Barrie Police Service told Canada’s Global News that “stealing plants is a criminal offence that can carry a fine and a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison.”
While stealing some peonies or roses from a neighbor’s garden may not cost you that much, it’s worth remembering that it still is theft.
Gardeners might think of creative revenge strategies, but, in the end, they’re still left with hurt feelings and disappointment
Image credits: Binyamin Mellish / Pexels (not the actual photo)
What are some ways people can protect their gardens? The first option is probably to put up signs and let people know that this garden is private property. Installing security cameras is also an option, and putting that on the sign might fend off the more fearful thieves.
While this next tip might not work that well for flowers and plants, say, next to the driveway, gating your garden might also help. Community garden enthusiasts told The New York Times how they had to put locks on their garden gates to secure their veggies.
The president of one association said gardeners separated their gardens with a string in the past. Now they have to add locks to their gates. “For some reason, people don’t seem to consider taking veggies and flowers stealing,” she told the NYT.
Having your plants stolen leaves you with the same hurt feelings any other burglary would. Creative gardening expert C.L. Fornari wrote about her experience in a blog post. In an open letter to her garden thief, she wrote about how gardening requires work and time.
“From the outside looking in, it might appear that all of this comes easily to me… It does not. I work at it, labor over what I do, and feel anxious about whether it’s good enough.” She also wrote about how she puts a lot of effort and time into her work, but getting robbed sours the whole gardening experience. “You have made me question if my labors are worth the hours and struggles I put into what I do. Why should I work so hard if people like yourself are just going to rip me off?”
A community gardener in Calgary, Canada told Global News how it’s not only the loss of property that stings. “We come in here feeling that this should be a safe place for us, a respite from the world around us and other people come in here and do things, take things that don’t belong to them and your space is invaded.”
The OP clarified some things in the comments
Some netizens’ verdict was NTA – you steal, you get what’s coming for you
Others thought OP’s behavior was too petty
There were some commenters who thought everyone in this story was a jerk