need a place to vent...

tdunford(z5 Peterborough)August 9, 2004

I am so mad tonite that I'm sure smoke must be coming out of my ears. I have (had) a beautiful scoth thistle growing in my backyard along the fence. I've babied it along since the spring, and it was just now starting to flower (at least 12), and was about 5 feet tall. I came home for work tonite to find that the neighbour behind me either climbed a ladder to reach over the fence, or worked through the fence, and cut the plant at the ground with a shovel (left the shovel marks in the ground). Now I know that this is just a "weed" but it should have been obvious to anyone that I wanted it to grow there, and being in bloom it was a beautiful plant, attracting butterfies etc., and he had no business cutting it as far as I'm concerned. If it was poking through the fence, cut it off on his side and leave the rest.

Am I wrong???? Let me know what you think.

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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I don't think you're wrong at all. I have a neighbor who is compulsively neat and clean. I'd swear she sweeps the ground. I've been fixing our yard one part at a time. It's a large yard, and we started from scratch. Anyway, when they built 2 years ago, they clearcut up to the property line. We had not clearcut, but in some places it is pretty bare up to the property line. Anyway, she uses her weedwhacker on our side of the property line in some places. She hasn't ever cut anything I value--only dandelions and other weeds; but it's the principal of the thing. I prefer some weeds over other weeds, and I don't want bare ground with dust blowing. And I'm sorry that I can't take care of fixing all the yard at once. And she's trying to be helpful. But it still irks me.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 1:31AM
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chris_ont(5a Ont)

Your neighbor had no right to damage any part of your property if it wasn't infringing upon his. What if he takes a dislike to any perennials growing along there?

Funny how neighbors interact. There is rental duplex beside me and all summer long I carefully weeded along my chainlink fence, cursing every time I came along this big huge weed growing on their side. The Dutchman's pipe I've been trying to start there kept getting tangled up in it.
Did I yank the weed? No, I patiently pulled the runners out of the plant and twined them back into the fence.

Yesterday someone finally came along and weed-whacked their side of the fence. It's just a 1-foot strip of dust between their driveway and my fence - I doubt anyone would have noticed or cared if I had yanked that weed the moment it reared its non-pretty head. But it would never have occurred to me to do so. Funny how some people just help themselves.

My biggest problem with that sort of thing in the past is when neighbors (on either side) use Roundup along our fences, thinking maybe that Roundup knows the difference between a weed and a 'real' plant or vine growing along there.
Funny thing is, when I mentioned the dead hops vine and monkshood to the south neighbor he just looked at me like I was some eccentric worried about 'her babies' and made no offer to replace the destroyed plants.
The lawn-killing dude on the north was truly sorry about killing my grass - he didn't even think about drift onto my side of the chainlink fence. This is why he now lets the weeds grow huge and then just chops them all down once or twice a year!


    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 9:52AM
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Had an experience similar to your's exactly 10 years ago!!!! I remember it well!!
We returned from our honeymoon to find a King George Rose bush chopped to the ground on our side of the fence. And I do mean CHOPPED. Axe marks everywhere on the stumps which were left!!!
Come to find out, when the property was sold to me, the lawyer did not do his work properly, and my assumption that the property line was where the fence was, well, I was wrong!! The property line actually rested two feet inside the fence line in that particular spot, and so the bush was the neighbour's to chop as he pleased.
I got some cuttings from it the next year before he could see them, and started another on the other side of the property where I had a REAL neighbour!!
We moved in 2001. You can bet your booties I made sure we knew where the property lines are, and I go and remark the EVERY spring!!
As per your Scotch Thistle, I think it is a fabulous plant, and hope you continue to grow it in the future. Saw one for the first time this year, and had to go back and talk to the gardener of the house. She has a little envelope ready for when it sets seeds so I can grow them in our gardens next year!! Neat! A plant which brought down the English army when fighting the Scots!!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 6:37PM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Although you are angry, the fact is that thistles are noxious weeds in Ontario and you are required by law to destroy any on your property.

Most of the thistles in Ontario are non native weeds and very invasive. They have large underground roots and spread rapidly through lawns and gardens. They produce thousands of seeds that spread to parks and wild areas where they germinate and displace native plants.

There are better behaved horticultural thistles available in garden centres. If you want thistles in your garden, these are a better idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Noxious Weeds of Ontario

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 1:05PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Your neighbor would have done a better sevice by turning you in to the weed board or whatever the legal authority is there. As strongly as I feel about noxious weeds and your responsibility to the entire community to NOT deliberately grow them, it is plain WRONG to trespass and destroy ANYTHING on anothers property!!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 8:58PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Yes, the thistle is a noxious weed. No question. However, many people grow 1 or 2 specimen of thistles for the grand structure of the plant and also for the neat purple flowers. Those conscientious growers ALWAYS cut off the flower once they are spent BEFORE they go to seed. If one goes to the famous gardens in Scotland, one will nearly always find a fine specimen or two of different thistles. There is one I saw there that had the most amazing leaves I have ever seen. I would give my eye teeth to have seed from that one.

Your neighbour could be charged with vandalism to your property. Perhaps you were propogating that specimen for a particular reason. They have NO right to wilfully damage things on your property. I would wager to say they would be upset if you took your shovel to the tires of their car. It is the same logic.

They are wrong and you are right to feel violated.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 10:31PM
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Thankfully I haven't had anyone chop down any of my plants. My neighbours on both sides are very happy that we are transforming the yard from what it was, so I'm lucky there. Although in the front, I had planted some bienial campanula which I started from seed. It took three years before they bloomed and this year they were fantastic. I went out one night only to come home to find one of the plants completely ruined. It seems they tried to yank really hard in order to "help themselves" to come cut flowers, but instead they snaped the stem and pulled up the entire plant! I was so frustrated! Although I tried to re-plant it ended up dying anyways. I thnk you have every right to feel wronged, your neighbour could have at least talked to you about it. Why are people so afraid to communicate these days? I would have gladly given a cutting of my plants to whoever asked!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 5:37PM
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tdunford(z5 Peterborough)

Just wanted to let you know that I spoke with the neighbour about this and at first he said that he only pushed it back through the fence as it was poking through on his side. When I told him that he had cut it off with the shovel and that I could see the marks made by his shovel, he admitted that yes he had done it and that no he should not have. I asked him to talk with me next time he had a problem with something in my yard, that I wasn't an ogre and that I was easy enought to get along with. He said he was very sorry and that he had no right to do what he did and that he would talk to me next time instead. Doesn't get my plant back, but at least I feel better about it, and I'm guessing he does too.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 11:26AM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

If youÂre into growing ornamental thistle, seeds to look for that are pretty cool to have in the garden is called Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum). This one has white veins in the prickly leaves making it look distinguishing.
Big magenta purple flowers are a bonus!

I agree though, to be a responsible gardener and to be friends with your neighbors is to have good communication with one another and to cut off seed heads before they blow over the fence. Then everybody is happy ;)


Here is a link that might be useful: Silybum marianum

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 3:25AM
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I feel sorry for you and your thistle Trevor.
I feel your likely a responsible gardener, and know how to control the spread of a thistle.

we had a thistle that was about 8' high and 4' round, it was a beauty. unless it's against the criminal code NOBOBY had better come on my property!!

when the town, township, county, or province cleans up their act then i'll clean up mine!



    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 10:41AM
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ok, you are NOT wrong!
first, just courtesy...he should have contacted you and informed you about your 'thistle' and his concern

second, NOT ALL thistles are noxious. globe thistles, milk thistles, depends on the area. and if you DO have a noxious weed as many gardeners have (not to mention vacant city lots) and you CONTAIN it or dead head it, you are cannot just clump all thistles together.

third...the law...there is a case where one neighbour complained that a large tree branch was hanging over his yard and 'tresspassing'- it went to court and the neighbour that was complaining DO own all the space above your land up to the heavens but this judge deemed that the branch was not impeeding the neighbour thus he was no allowed to cut the tree.

common decency should always prevail..but hey...before you cross this guy off your good guy list...Maybe, he thought he was doing you a favour and meant no harm to your garden...he may have thought a thistle is a to him....think of the sterss is only a thistle, grow another...cheers

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 2:50AM
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Congrats on taking the time to talk to your neighbor
it doesn't get your plant back, but at least you opened
up a channel of communication and in the future he may just take the time to ask you about something.

Our neighbor just called the city building inspector to complain. Yes, a thyme lawn underplanted with crocus and spring bulbs looks a bit weedy at times. But not half as bad as a stand of canadian thistle and nightshade posing as native plants(hers). Yes a bank of composted leaves looks like
a pile of trash. But it isn't an old matress and 3 old
artifical Xmas trees heaped out the back door(hers). After 6 years of it, I just got tired of the city inspector making his rounds and was ready each spring for a new list of complaints and told my council man that the city could replace my thyme next time they "mowed the lawn" and attached an estimate for 2000 thyme plants. Last year the
bank reposessed her house, we have really nice new neighbors
who've asked my help in getting their yard to look as nice as mine.

I hope you can grow your neighbor into someone who is understanding and open minded.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2005 at 9:12AM
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Have you ever steped on a thistle plant in the grass barefoot? OOUUCCHH!
he had no right to chop your thistle but always think about your neighbors when planting along property lines. Its only right.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 10:19AM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

Our house is very close to our neighbors. About five years ago,DH was trinmming our bushes (yews,junipers) and also clipped some branches of neighbors pine tree that hung over the fence. Neighbor came outside,yelled at DH. He said we have no right to touch anything on his property. Very embarassed, DH apologized profusely. We never speak to that neighbor. TOO CRABBY.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 10:36AM
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chris_ont(5a Ont)

It's the opposite with me. I go over to the neighbor's side to trim my large cedar that is spreading to the point of brushing against his siding.

He either doesn't know he's allowed to trim those bits or he thinks I might get upset (we don't interract much but I did whine to him a bit about him killing a hops vine on my fence with his Round Up - he didn't offer to compensate me.)

I figure that I better keep up with trimming my cedar before he decides to hold me responsible for damaging his property.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2005 at 12:22PM
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