Plant privatisation

It was beautiful as the sun came up this morning.

2015-04-01 07.17.38

I couldn’t quite believe my eyes as I biked out to running training last night and saw an uprooted westringia (native shrub) in the local pocket park. It was nightfall when I returned, and to my distress, there were a couple of westringias (at the bottom of the picture below), a couple of dianellas, and another strappy-leafed plant whose name I don’t know lying uprooted on the ground. And, there were the holes where many more plants had previously been. The plant stealers are back.

2015-04-01 07.28.52

These poor plants were probably uprooted the previous night, and who knows why they were left behind. But since the others were taken–I have concluded they have been stolen, and this is only the latest in a series.  I put the uprooted plants in water overnight and they looked a lot better by morning. I cut them back to give the suffering roots less leaf to support.  And then, before work this morning, back into the ground with them.

2015-04-01 08.08.52

I also planted more saltbush, since my seedlings keep coming up.  They look so small and pitiful… but hopefully they’ll come along.

2015-04-01 08.09.04

I have started on another site, a bare triangle left after infrastructure works, and these three tiddlers are the beginning (I hope).  There they are in the foreground. I worked over this triangle collecting rubbish, and then heaved some buckets of mulch up from a low pile left over in the pocket park.  I do sometimes wonder if the dumpers feel like this low mound makes their efforts less noticeable, so shifting that mulch to a bare spot seems a good idea for a number of reasons.

2015-04-01 08.40.31

It soon appeared that the low wall might be a good canvas for chalk.  It wasn’t me, but I’m delighted, and so were neighbourhood passersby, several of whom offered comment.

2015-04-01 12.11.04

Thinking about the people who have been doing this (on at least four occasions I have noticed, so far–with a total loss of at least 25 plants)–I feel conscious that the inequality of the current economic system generates both poverty and greed.  And militates against any sense of shared resources or the commons. I don’t want to assume it makes sense to blame the people who are doing this.  Maybe it wouldn’t, if I knew them and their circumstances–even if their actions make me sad and seem to me to amount to privatising the commons.

If you’d like a primer on what I mean by the commons, try this song by David Rovics–aimed at corporations rather than at people stealing plants who may well themselves be desperate (and with a truly odd animation to make you scratch your head).



Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

7 responses to “Plant privatisation

  1. Helen

    I never get the idea of ‘plant’ thieves. I had two pots of good sized Lavender at a place I rented in Italy when I lived there. It was on a farm so not like you would walk or drive by on a city street and notice the pots. They were down a lane and around behind the barn. I mean you really had to be going there. I came home one night and thought…didn’t I have 2 pots of lavender. Now I only had one. I’ve always wonder what happened. Granted the plant was a generous size so I guess it was ‘worth’ someone stealing it, but I just can’t think of real gardener’s stealing. Most are so willing to give you plants if you ask. Good luck on your projects. It sounds like lots of people in the area are appreciative and looking out for the plants.


    • How outrageous is that? Thanks for cheering me on. My grandmother was a great cactus grower–living in a very dry and hot climate, she made the most of what she had. She had cacti stolen from her front yard even though she was a central member of the garden club and used to propagate plants to sell and give away all the time. I find it puzzling too! Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  2. Susan

    That is a GREAT SONG!! Thank you . So glad you have like minded ‘friends’ out there writing on the walls……… They certainly wouldn’t steal plants in the daylight!


    • Glad you liked the song! The chalk got painted over the very next day as part of graffiti removal (all other graffiti went to). But you’re so right. We all need friends and encouragement.


  3. Pingback: Dianella planting | Local & Bespoke

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