Stole the neighbor's peonies

eayeary(5)April 4, 2012

There's a vacant house next door I notice had some peonies shooting up a few weeks ago (the purple-red buds) so I waited until the local guy mowed and sure enough he chopped off the tops. I went over and dug up the rhizomes (is that what the carrot tubes are?) and have saved 3 big ones. However, there were TONS of little bulbs....are those young peonies that are developing?

Next's Ohio and planting season...what do I do with the bulbs and rhizomes I saved? If I plant them, will they do anything this year?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

You admit you are stealing, and beyond that, you do not know what you are stealing. How do you justify your actions? Al

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Okay, a little sarcasm in that post. Not really stealing. I know the owner and she doesn't care less about the house. It was her mother's and has been vacant (but kept up) for over 5 years. So after the man they pay to mow their lawn ran them over and chopped the tops off, I went and swapped my piece of dirt for theirs. Theirs just happened to have peonies planted randomly in the middle of their backyard.
I know they're peonies because they have the purple shoots and masses of bulbs with giant rhizomes. But now that I think about it...I'm wondering if I just dug up a Dahlia.
AND Al, I justify it by being the one who is saving these plants and actually planning to do the front of the vacant house with all the starts. I am lucky enough to have 2 elderly neighbors who let me do their yards how I want and get to add this vacant house to the mix this year! :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 11:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nancy zone 6

I doubt it would be a dahlia in zone 5. Dahlias will occasionally overwinter in ground here in zone 6, but only in a warm winter.
How nice, your neighbors are fortunate to have someone to help out, & always nice for you to have more space to garden :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 7:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

what do I do with the bulbs and rhizomes I saved?

You could always pot them up and take them to the plant swap next month. I'm always happy to set up a side trade for peonies!

(I can stop anytime I want to, I just don't want to!)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

But, eayeary, you must secure absolute permission...I'm a fine one to talk as I too assume that the neighbor cares not. We are not "stealing", we are improving..IMO, its a sin to let properly rot and lose the peonies..
Peony has no bulb, AFAIK, its all root.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pinkkathleen(5.5 MO)

When the house across the street from me went into foreclosure the one neighbor went over and stole the landscaping bricks out of the yard, justifying it by saying it didn't belong to anyone. It belonged to the bank. Maybe this irritated me because I couldn't stand the grass being so high so I moved the lawn for a full year, she stole the bricks. If you didn't buy it or it wasn't given to you, then it doesn't belong to you. If you take something that doesn't belong to you, then your stealing it.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 3:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, I am a thief....funny I should see this thread after coming home from working on a once vacant house. I saw a clump of peonies in the front yard....there were a few stalks separate from the clump So I brought my shovel today and made the clump nice and round. (it's in the front yard)....same with some maybe iris's near the corner of the house...What once was a flower bed in front by the house is vastly overgrown with weeds etc. It hasn't been cared for for several years. Now it will be a rental unit.

In the back are the remains of a nice garden area, fenced in,...someone sectioned it it is overgrown with weeds and vines...The owner doesn't want to spend any money to pay someone to 'make it nice' so it will stay that way...unless new renter will do it; it will stay abandoned and forgotten. There amongsst the boards and piles of leaves was another peonie clump...I raked the leaves away and 'took' another section of rizomes and hopefully now the bush will flower...

Thief? well, I know the new owner of the house and he has let me take some plants from his new houses so I didn't even bother to ask him. When he resells, new owners will most likely start over anyway and renters don't garden much and if they do they usually want to start over too.

And thieving from a bank? they have been thieving from us since the first loan eons ago.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

Good interesting thread...
I love the peonies, but hate those who neglect, so I am no better.. My property in YH will end up as a rental, a crying shame..I think rentals and neglect should be outlawed.
The peonies, which are probably on another man's property seem to have to potential to be beautiful. I have given them a little bloom start fertilizer and some "mulch".Its only one plant (or root). This fall, I'll unearth them and do some spreading..
"stealing from a bank" ??
We need tighter controls; both the banks and the money are, in a sense, public property, perhaps they should be nationalized.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

All of those people who buy stock in a bank are the owners of the banks property. Any loss sustained by the bank is a loss for all of them. How have we gotten to this point where stealing bank property is OK? If you have not bought and paid for it, it is not yours. If you want it, ask the person who owns it, if he wants to give it to you. Seems simple to me. Al

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why take the whole plant? If you "steal" a piece of root with a bud or two and leave the rest to grow there should not be a problem? It will grow into a nice plant soon enough!

When I have asked for a root piece I have never been dissappointed, nor do I mind sharing mine!

Gardening people are great people, that's why!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At the garden I tend at a local hospital, people come with pick-ups and shovels and dig entire peony plants, some of which cost $50 apiece when they were tiny plants, as well as rose bushes. People also seem to think that this garden is a public cutting garden; tulips especially are vulnerable.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

Mantis, to me, these people are stealing, and I have liberal views. It would be good to encounter one of these thieves and cause some red faces....or prison time..
Perhaps the picking is OK, but that is it. Also, kudos on maintaining a hospital garden.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I don't consider either digging or picking okay. Tulips are not like, say, a coreopsis, that replenish themselves readily. Quality bulbs are expensive, and many do not rebloom in subsequent years. I reprimand anyone I find picking flowers, even the mothers who think it's cute for their children to pick flowers. Hospital security have been alerted to the thieves; some were chased away a few days ago.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

This makes it clear why so many things were dug up and stolen from my property.

I purchased another house and moved. My mom got sick. I was going to rent or sale the property after I moved. Taking care of my Mom I did not get back to finish the house for sale/or rent. I could not decide. I owned the house had a lawn service mow the lawn. He mowed all my properties. I have others that are rentals.

People took it upon themselves to rob my gardens in the empty house. He knew how to mow and care for the grounds without mowing down flowers and bushes in the gardens.

You should not have to sit in a house or have someone move in the day you move out to make sure people do not go on property they do not own and steal.

Stealing is stealing and it pisses me off. I hope people will think before they do that to someone. It is not a plant. It is the value of the property. A lilac tree is valued at 600.00 according to the insurance company when a drunk ran into my tree. Taking a plant off of someone's property is stealing money.

If it is a older person's property and they are put in a home that value is what the elder people use to pay for their stay at the nursing home. So I ask people to think when you see a plant and take it because you think a house is empty just sitting there to supply you with a 6.00 plant you could buy instead of taking from someone. Try going to the store and purchase the plant.

That is the end of my rant.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not sure what the point is of this original post, in the sense that it seems one is boasting of his/her "stealing." Guilty conscious? I agree with many of the posts that follow, one should ask before removing anything from another's property; it is not common courtesy to "assume" someone doesn't care if something from their property is removed, whether it be a plant, brick, whatever.

Perhaps it is a stretch, but how is stealing a plant that "nobody cares if I take it" different than taking something of higher value that is neglected and unused from someone's property? Seems one justifies an action such as this because it is merely a plant, but I think it's disrespectful to the owner. That's the end of my rant as well.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 11:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was being humorous about 'stealing from a bank'....tho I am old enough to have heard the stories of what happened at the time of the Great Depression from my grandparents and parents...but that does not mean I condone stealing from a their flowers or anything of theirs...

As for my peonies, the property manager and I talked and she offered me some granite bricks from that property when she saw my granite wall lacking a few. She said the property has some other things if I want them but I said most is so overgrown that there isn't much left of what once was a nice raised bed garden area.

I have a boulevard flower garden and each year the tulips would disappear tho for the most part they were left alone. the Siberian Iris's last year disappeared one night. I don't have that many but I know there are people who are going to steal due to their lack of good upbringing. In the alley I used to plant a tomato plant or two for anyone to take some...Last year there was a grandpa next door who told his grandchildren to leave my flowers alone. and they did and I sent a bouquet over that summer. Now if people came into my fenced yard and helped themselves....that would be another story...but what could I do? So far that hasn't been an issue and if I have extra I share with neighbors.

that's my story.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 1:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

wiley0, I had a project of a public garden and I had the Iris pulled out. Lucky for me I had a bunch to replace. But the following year I fixed the problem. It has been 3 years and not another plant has disappeared. I do have to thin the iris this year.

I planted these hardy cactus in between the rows. Once they get these stuck in their stealing hands they never come back. They also have beautiful blooms.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pinkkathleen(5.5 MO)


    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 5:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In my opinion, there are different circumstances where someone is actually STEALING, and then there are circumstances where the person is just rescuing a nice perennial.

It's probably best to look at these things on a case-by-case basis.

I drove by an abandoned farm house for years, watching as the peonies bloomed year after year, looking like old-fashioned varieties, white and beautiful. Then they tore the house down and the farmer who rented the field behind it enlarged the field to encompass the entire yard. He plowed over the peonies and used Round-up to kill the grass. The next day, I went over and dug up all the peonies I could get my hands on, even though they were somewhat funky due to the spray. They pulled through and now every year I enjoy these beauties which have a heavenly scent not usually found in today's hybrids from what I can tell. My other peonies don't smell nearly as rose-like.

Did I STEAL these peonies? I don't think so, it was obvious that they were going to be plowed under every year with herbicides used to keep them from coming back. Perhaps I "borrowed" a little dirt from the field, but in grand scheme of things I doubt the farmer will miss 2 gallons of soil out of a 30-acre field. Did I ask permission? No, but the farmer was there when I dug them up and never even came over to say squat to me. I figured he knew what I was doing.

I wouldn't outright steal something from a person's yard, regardless if the house is abandoned or not. That's why I kept my eye on that property, because I didn't know if someone would move in and take over or what would happen. Once the house was torn down (a shame, it was a beauty) I figured all bets were off.

I do occasionally "steal" seeds from plants that I see in various parks, arborateums or other places where (having been a pro gardener for a biz) I know they're going to end up as waste or compost. I have several varieties of plants and trees from this type of thievery. As well, birds and squirrels "steal" seeds and put them in my yard all the time. I have a shingle oak, a plum tree, a wild pink rose, partridge berry vine, coreopsis, an odd yellow flower that I still can't identify and many more which I consider "gifts" from my little animal thief friends.

In the end, we're talking about plants. It's not stocks, bonds, gold, diamonds... and no, it's not a slippery slope. I think most gardeners would agree that if we were actually plant thieves, we'd probably stick to plants and not move up the ladder to actual retail goods. I even encourage gardener friends to "steal" seeds from me, but tell them to do it while I'm not looking or the plant won't grow. :-)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 8:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, keithdirt, for your excellent post regarding the difference between actually stealing and rescuing a plant that would be lost forever. I think you explained it so well with your own personal story and I agree with you completely and think you certainly did the right thing in rescuing those peonies from the the torn down farm house garden. Of course like you I do not condone stealing, but in circumstances like the one you mentioned, it seems to me it is something to cheer when those of us who really value the old plants are able to save them for many more years of enjoyment. I think it is so sad to see the loss of these old plants that someone years ago had thought enough about to plant. I have found that people like us place much value on these old plants. So many others out there really don't view and value these plants as we do and as in your case, would just as soon plow them under the ground.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 11:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

Case by Case is a slippery slope. Anything you take that is not on your property without permission is stealing. That is why it is called property and not garbage.

How would you feel if you put a old pot in your garden and someone came by and felt because you have not moved that pot in years and it does not look good so they would just take the pot?

Why are so proud of yourself for taking someones property to put in your gardens as some great deed? You are not noble it is for your own pleasure.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

With all due respect, marquest, to me case-by-case is not a slippery slope---I have a very good idea of what is right and what is wrong and what constitutes stealing and what constitutes saving a plant that the property owner could care less about. But I will concede to you that perhaps that difference is not so clear-cut to many others so I will agree that the owner should be found and permission granted just to make sure that line is not crossed.

Many years ago, my mom used to pass by, for at least a good 25 years, an old farm outside of her town that had an old farmhouse on it. Not only had no one lived on the property for many many years, but you never even saw anyone or the signs of anyone having been around the property---visiting it, taking care of it,cutting the grass etc.etc. In fact, year after year the formerly lovely two story farm house that had looked inhabitable when my mom first moved to that area, slowly started to deteriorate and literally fall down from lack of basic care with walls sagging and front porch falling on the ground. Meanwhile, all those years my mom saw very old and beautiful peonies and irises blooming every spring in the weed filled yard. She wanted so bad to save (yes, SAVE) those neglected old plants and even tried to find out about the property owner, but all anyone in town knew was that the owner did not live in the area, was not ever seen by anyone that they could remember and people thought may have been some distant relative of the former elderly owner who had died. Over the years, the town slowly spread outward, and one day my mom passed this same property and saw bulldozers in there tearing down what remained of the old farmhouse and digging up and moving dirt around the old yard. A few days later they started to build something like a "JIffylube" where the old house and old peonies and iris used to be. She regreted for years after that she did not SAVE those old peonies and irises on property that so very obviously the owners did not care about as far as what was growing there.

I guess there are some on this thread that would still consider it stealing if my mom had dug up those old peonies and irises-----I don't in THIS particular instance. Some people see life in purely black and white and others are better at seeing and weighing all factors. Having said that, to be safe so we don't have people out there digging up plants when someone leaves their house vacant for a two week vacation, I guess it is better to recommend finding the owner of a property and asking permission.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

Song I can see that you feel it is a grey area. I am not trying to be argumentative about it either I just see it different. If it does not belong to me I just cannot feel I should take it regardless of ,what happens to someone's property I do not feel it makes it OK for me to take it from their property.

It is sensitive for me because of what happened to me. As I said I purchased another house moved and my Mom got sick and I just could not handle preparing my old house for sale and caring for my Mom. I had the grass mowed but other than that the property sat for 2 years while I took care of my Mom until she passed. I had plants dug up from the property. I had planters stolen. This is in a middle class suburban neighborhood. The peony were there when I purchased the property and the house was built in the 60s. They dug them up. The Iris they dug them up.

Another incident I know of was a friend that had to put her Mother in a home. She was a gardener that loved her yard. The house was used as payment for the home. Loan against value. It was empty for 5 years. The damage people did to her Mothers yard was criminal. Because they thought she did not live there any more so they could save her plants. When she went to sell the property to bury her Mom. She had to do extra landscaping because of the theft.

So as I said it is personal for me. I do not think anyone has a right to go on someone's property because they feel they have a right to someone's plants to improve their garden. Plants are property. Just because they are outside in the ground they are still property. They are not lost the only person that can rescue them should be the owner of that property.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terrene(5b MA)

Is it immoral to recover a plant or other item that is usable and could benefit someone, that would otherwise go to waste? No doubt there have been historical varieties of Peonies, Irises, Daylilies, etc. that are lost forever because some one didn't "rescue" them from development. I don't think that rescuing a plant from certain doom is the same as stealing, although one would have to be sure that the plant is going to be destroyed otherwise.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Putting more value on property than life may be legal but that doesn't make it right. IMO.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 6:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

jeanne, stealing a plant that does not belong to them for a person's personal garden is not saving their life it is for their "Personal" enjoyment.

It is very easy to locate property owners because this is public record. People that collect historical plants do so in a manner that does not include raiding properties that they do not own. They contact the owners, set up date of collection and they are saved in public gardens. They do not raid a property with assumptions of intent and plant them in their personal gardens and drink their morning tea or coffee and admire their stolen goods.

The word "Rescue" may make the thief feel better but a rose would still smell sweet regardless of what you called the plant. Stealing is still stealing even if you call it rescue. I just hope no one thinks your plants should be rescued in your gardens one night.

Just personally I could not enjoy my garden if I had stole a plant to make it beautiful. It would not bring me the calm and peace in my heart that I get from my gardens.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW! All I will say on this manner is that you may "walk" on to my property to thief a plant, but you will not "walk" off my property with my plants, or your legs! If you would like something of mine, ask! I will GLADLY share with you! But don't ever steal!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:32AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Ask: Is this a peony?
Hi, three weeks ago i purchased peony seeds online....
2015 peony blooms
Please update your peonies blooms or growth here. This...
bare root peonies - when to plant?
Well, its that time of year in the northeast when I...
Any ideas what kind of peony is this one?
Hi, I wonder if anyone knows ( or guesses ) the peony...
Moving my Itoh peonies from IL to TN.
I dug these last November since I knew we might be...
Sponsored Products
Cream & Brown 'Boys Stole My Heart' Wall Sign
$32.99 | zulily
Cream & Navy 'Boy Stole Heart' Wall Sign
$32.99 | zulily
Cream & Brown 'Stole Our Hearts' Wall Sign
$32.99 | zulily
'He Stole Her Heart' Sign
$14.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™