They’ve waged war against deer and battled hungry possums that snatch tomatoes just when they are at the peak of their flavor. But there’s one pest the Newark Street gardeners have been unable to thwart: a certain two-legged rat with a penchant for peonies.
For 10 years, gardeners in this Northwest Washington neighborhood believe the same man has been stealing spring blooms from their plots in the Newark Street Community Garden. Not just a few stems, mind you, but bunches — as many as 30 to 50 at a time.
“He does this every year, starting with the peonies,” said Marcia Stein, one of the flower thief’s victims, who lost a bunch of blooms this month. “Last year, he stole all of my peonies.”
Gardeners say the suspect has expensive taste. He ignores lesser flowers in favor of pricier blooms. (At Johnson’s Florist and Garden Center in Cleveland Park, peonies sell for $8.99 a stem.)
And when he steals them, he’s not gentle: He rips the blooms right out of the ground.
For years, the gardeners kept quiet, fearful that publicity would encourage more thefts.
MALP Educational Meeting—Free to the public
Date: Tuesday March 22, 2011
Place: Maui Community Service Bldg next to CTHAR Extension Services (Map) on the UH Maui campus.
Time: Pupus will be served at 6:30 pm and the talk will begin at 7:00.
by Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst, garden columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and author of the book: Growing Native Hawaiian Plants.
Heidi’s presentation is entitled PLANT PONO , in which she will speak and show a PowerPoint about the new and upcoming Plant Pono website, a tool to help grow and nurture our green industry of Hawaii and our forests and natural areas as well, by growing, designing, planting and maintaining high value plants that are not invasive weeds.
Heidi’s credentials also include serving as Landscape Director at the Hale Koa Hotel; Director/Supervisor/Plant Propagator at the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, Nature Conservancy Hawaii Oahu/ Lanai Preserves Manager; Education Coordinator HPCC/National Tropical Botanical garden; Horticulturalist, Sustainable Landscape Designer & Consultant, Arborist, and VIP Tour Guide.
She specializes in native Hawaiian and drought tolerant plants, and sustainable and edible landscapes. Heidi is also a Founding and Board member of the Halawa Xeriscape Garden.