Here’s one that makes me glad I can’t afford to hire gardening help, but also speaks to some of my most paranoid imaginings.
Sir Richard Tucker and Lady Jacqueline Tucker, a retired judge and his wife who live in the picturesque Cotswolds-area village of Stanton, in England, suspect that their gardener (now former gardener) killed their Wollemi pine, destroyed a flower border with weedkiller, and somehow turned their grass bright orange. The case is set to go to trial in August, and has the population of the place in somewhat of an uproar, as many in the village still employ the gardener in question. Yikes.
It seems nuts to sabotage your employer in such an obvious fashion, but I have to admit sometimes I worry about malicious vandalism to my plants. I live in a city, I have neighbors, and not all of them are cool—and not all of the people who happen to pass by are cool. Those guys I told not to sit on the public planters I help with for example. Or maybe the bar at the corner whose patio hours we have criticized.
What has happened is that last year someone snipped off a bunch of tulips and two years before someone pulled out an alocasia from the big easeway planter (shown above, but if you want to see the judge in his wig, click on the link). Just (possibly) drunken randomness that didn’t seem worth a second thought at the time. It’s so easy to wreck a garden, though. I can appreciate the shock that this judge must have experienced coming home to see his orange grass and destroyed flowers—similar to how a Toronto woman must have felt when she came home to see her entire front wildflower bed totally destroyed.
This stuff hardly ever happens, thankfully. Most of the time, when I see people walking by, they turn and smile at the front flower beds, and if they see me they have a brief compliment to offer. I do have a couple neighbors who say they don’t want to call attention to their front yards because of such fears, but it’s rare. You’d really have to have a lot of anger to want to take it out on plants—especially if it’s your profession, as is the case here.