Friday, July 29, 2011

Good fences...

Maybe some people who are used to dealing with toddlers have some good ideas:

A friend of mine has a problem. (No, really.)

My friend's neighbor, who is widely acknowledged by the neighborhood to have a drinking problem, has been coming into my friend's garden and either:
1) cutting my friend's flowers and taking them home or
2) pulling up whole flowering plants by the root balls and replanting them in her own garden

She is not, nor has she been at any time, invited to do this.  The neighbor has been asked, at least three times, not to take the flowers. Most recently, she was told quite loudly and forcefully to put the plants back. She continues to wait for opportunities when my friend is not home and then raid the garden.

Their yards are adjacent and there is no fence. In this particular neighborhood, fences are quite uncommon.

What would you do? Call the police? Yell and scream? Plant some poison ivy in your flower beds?

I think I would put up a fence. It's an expensive solution, but it makes the trespassing issue clearer to everyone (not just those directly involved). And the fence will be a nice backdrop for whatever flowers are left.


Meredith said...

Are there coding ordinances? If so, those could certainly be enforced. A fence sounds like the easiest (though most expensive solution.) Could your friend put signs in the flower garden saying, "Don't touch!"? Maybe that would get her attention.
I think if you put up a no trespassing sign, you could call the police if she did trespass. She is stealing after all. Maybe a visit from the police might make her stop (though that could be seen as mean...)

Swistle said...

Oh, man. I think I would try killing with kindness: making her a gift of some plants, in the hopes that (1) this would keep her from taking my planted ones, and (2) that it would make her feel bad. I don't think a sign or a fence is going to help: she already knows what she's doing is wrong.

But if it didn't help, I think I'd call the non-emergency police number and explain the situation and ask what they advised. I'd use my "I know this is silly, but I really can't figure out what to do about it" tone, and I'd say I didn't really want to CALL THE COPS on her---but that on the other hand I couldn't think of anything else to do, short of not having a garden anymore. Someone who will blatantly take someone else's flowers despite being specifically asked not to is a serious social-aberration problem---and not one I'd want to provoke by escalating the situation.

Ann Wyse said...

Being a new-ish home owner, this scenario is really frightening to me, because I'd be worried that involving authorities would - yes - 'escalate' - the problem. Although, maybe a little scare *would* help.

Maybe one just commits oneself to methodically trying one new technique after the other? And beginning with the most 'gentle' idea?