Stealing Hydrangeas

More than five years ago, a man came to the door asking if he could cut some of our giant hydrangea blooms. We said yes, as long as he didn’t take them all, because we were enjoying them. The first year he was very respectful, so when he came back the following year, we said yes. He butchered the plant that second year, taking almost all the blooms. Then we moved.

Fast forward to this summer. Someone sneaked into my inlaws’ side yard and attacked their beautiful hydrangea plant, taking many of the blooms. The plant is barely visible from the street. The thief must have been looking very closely, and very specifically, for hydrangeas.

A few weeks later, we noticed a number of flowers on our front-yard hydrangea were missing. We don’t even live in the same city. I’d show you a picture, but we didn’t have that many blooms to begin with, so it’s pretty sad looking.

What’s going on? Is there a band of roving hydrangea lovers wandering around the Portland metro area? Or is there some festival or cultural event in August that requires large numbers of hydrangeas?ย I wish I had asked the man who came to our old house why he wanted them.

I’m frustrated that the blooms were stolen from my inlaws, since they are gardeners and seniors, and it feels like someone preyed on them by trespassing on their property. I am also annoyed that someone walked up our front walk with cutters and snipped ours without permission.

How does this relate to writing? Odd situations or unexplained events that scream “story this way.” I know there’s a reason behind these thefts, but I have no clue what it is or where to start looking for an answer. I hope the flowers were used for something beautiful–a wedding, perhaps–but I also want the thieves to know they could have asked, and we would have said yes. Take some. Enjoy them.

Instead we’re without our pretty flowers, we feel like we’ve been turned into targets due to what grows in our yards–and we’re without an explanation. I may have to turn this into a story.

Do unexplained events get your story brain cooking? Has anyone ever stolen your hydrangeas? Did anything odd happen to you this summer?

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
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24 Responses to Stealing Hydrangeas

  1. “He butchered the plants that second year, taking almost all the blooms. Then we moved.”

    That seems like a rather extreme reaction. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the story ideas, have you thought about the possibility that it might be… hydrangea vampires? A small group, nocturnal, subsisting on hydrangeas, tortured and romantic about the beauty they are forced to destroy in order to survive?

    Well, maybe not. There probably is a story in there, though.

  2. The nerve of some people!
    One night a few summers back, I went to let the dogs out and saw someone had put up a tent on our property. It was far enough from the house, but still on our property. I walked over and found out it was a German couple just passing through, with no where to stay, so they pitched a tent on my lawn…??!!

  3. Oh my goodness! That’s terrible. Hydrangeas are my favorite and I used them as my wedding flower. We have a few bushes in our back yard, but nobody has come to butcher them. I just can’t believe people would do such a thing!

    • What a beautiful flower for a wedding, Emily! I was wondering if that was why ours were needed, back at the old house, but today I googled “stealing hydrangeas” and I found police elsewhere theorizing that the blooms were being used in dry flower arrangements–why pay for a supply of blooms when you can take them from people’s yards? That was what was odd this time; our hydrangeas were on the dry side when they were taken. But my inlaws live far enough away from us that this must be a metro-area thing, certainly not just our neighborhood. So I wonder if we’ll see dried hydrangea arrangements pop up someplace. They’d have to be a pretty big seller to cast that wide a net for blooms.

  4. Bryna says:

    Goodness! I’m so sorry to hear that’s been happening!
    Such events always get my mind thinking of stories, too. Last Christmas, I had two light-up reindeer. They had been a gift from an aunt because, once we bought our house, all I really wanted as far as Christmas decorations go was a pair of light-up reindeer for the front yard. One night, we came home to both of them missing! After the shock wore off, we started making up silly stories about what had happened to them. The most well-accepted thought: Santa needed something a little brighter than Rudolf’s nose last year to guide the sleigh. : ) (By the way, the next set that I happened across on sale just two days before Christmas were outfitted with a chain, lock, and peg to ensure they wouldn’t run off quite as easily!)
    I’m looking forward to hearing what you “discover” about where your hydrangeas have gone.

  5. Sara Flower says:

    Wow! That is so strange! Interesting story idea though.

    I hope you can enjoy those flowers in the future without creeper flower theives ruining it for you. :O

  6. Ah, Laura … the sad tale of the mysterious hydrangea thief. Hidden cameras … alarms on branches? What can one do? By all means you should write this into a story. My car was stolen one night by a group of hapless teens who were so inept they decided to park near one of our largest parks to stripe her … and yep … the trusted NYPD got her back. They had just begun to take off one door … so I tied myself in and drove to the mechanic. The teens? The lights of the patrolcar scattered them into the park where they vanished. Yikes !! I do have a short story about a young girl who steals her less than understanding older husband’s famous pink Elvis Caddy.

  7. jmmcdowell says:

    Someone once took a potted chrysanthemum from our porch, but that’s been the extent of the plant thefts. Unfortunately, the depths that people can reach when it comes to bad behavior no longer surprises me. But I definitely think you have the makings of a great story there.

  8. The neighbours left their front door open for a day and a half. I convinced myself ryder had been horribly needed until I saw them again.
    …they were fine. :-p

    But I did want to write about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 4amWriter says:

    You most definitely have a story here. I think it’s terrible the levels some people will stoop to, and it’s hard to imagine how they justify such behavior. Sorry about your flowers, I love hydrangeas. We have a huge bush in our back yard that has changed colors! My plant used to have blue blooms, this year they’re a soft pink. I heard it has something to do with the acidity level in soil? But I’m not a gardener, so I really don’t know the reason.

  10. Here in Ireland, it is holly trees that disappear. My aunt’s neighbours came home one December day to find that someone had cut down the holly tree in their garden. All that was left was the tree stump!! I suppose the thieves wanted some holly to decorate for Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  11. that is so horrible and so odd. we once had three sapling pine tree taken out of our front yard. they were so small i couldn’t imagine anyone took them for their value – probably neighborhood kids with too much trouble in them. still, they had come from my dad’s property and had been a house-warming gift. i was devastated at the loss.

  12. Szilvia says:

    We have just woken up this morning and our huge hydrangea iWas once again stripped of its flowers third year on the angry…thinking of putting a.booby trap in next year to give them some surprise…..

    • Three years in a row? That’s terrible, Szilvia. Do you live in Oregon? Whoever’s doing it must be targeting your gorgeous blooms, which is such an awful thought. I think a booby trap would be a marvelous idea! Or mark this day on your calendar and get vigilant in late August/early September.

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