Fellow gardeners know how tempting it can be to take a cutting from a plant you fancy when you’re out and about. But is it wrong?
A woman who was caught on camera stealing roses from a neighbour’s front yard has been branded a “flower thief” and sparked outrage among fellow gardeners.
CCTV footage captures the moment the woman casually strolls up the driveway of a home in the small suburb of Rototuna, northern Hamilton, New Zealand.
In the clip, which has been shared to Facebook page Residents of Rototuna, the woman proceeds to pull out shears and cut roses right off her neighbour’s flower bed, stuffing them inside a bag before walking away.
The frustrated video owner captioned the post: “Who is this over dressed mysterious flower thief captured here on a residents [sic] CCTV… must be stopped.
“I can’t believe this has happened in our respectable community.”
As wrong as some believe it is, it’s not uncommon for sticky fingered green thumbs to go sneaking around other people’s gardens in search of pretty blooms to decorate their homes. Some will wait until dusk when the light begins to fade before grabbing their scissors and heading out, while others, like the woman in this video, are bold enough to go in for the kill in broad daylight.
We asked readers from the Starts at 60 community for their thoughts on the matter and got a mixed response, with some likening it to theft and others saying they didn’t think it was such a bad thing.
Maureen Gee said she thought it was wrong, adding: “I have had complete plants stolen from my front garden and it made me feel sad, deflated, angry, mistrusting and disinterested in my own garden for some time.”
Denise Gail also had plants stolen and said: “I have an orange tree in my garden that was almost stripped of its fruit by greedy people who had to come in through a closed gate. I was not happy.”
Others, however, thought the fence barrier determined whether you could take a cutting without permission.
Kaye Kennedy humorously said: “I may have a past guilty recollection of picking some flowers hanging over the fence!”
Barbara Easthope remembers her grandmother sneaking a few cuttings: “My grandmother used to go for her evening walks with secateurs in hand to help herself to overhanging plants that would grow from cuttings. Occasionally when she saw a fine specimen in a yard she would go knock on the door and ask for a cutting. She was generous however with cuttings from her own garden.”
According to the Queensland Police, the legality of taking cuttings from other people’s yards is a grey area and reported incidents would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. When previously questioned on the matter, a Queensland Police spokesperson told Starts at 60 there are three factors that could play a role in convicting someone for taking a cutting–these include trespass, stealing and public nuisance.