A Horticultural Whodunit
What would possess a person to creep into my garden under the cover of darkness and steal a single miniature hosta? That’s what happened a couple of weeks ago and I’m still fascinated by what I discovered when I awoke at 6 a.m to let my good dogs Scout and Finch out to do their early-morning business. The scene of the crime was self-evident, even in the first morning light. At the base of my front steps sits a handsome homemade hypertufa trough filled with miniature Solomon’s seal, miniature astilbe, and a handful of miniature hostas. These were hostas I admired and purchased from Flying Frog Farm in Indianola, Iowa, after a photo shoot for Country Gardens a couple of years ago. Guests to my garden seem to gravitate to this diminutive display and are charmed by the less-than-large versions of their favorite shade-loving garden plants. As I maneuvered my terriers down the crowded steps, I spied the hypertufa container, obviously disturbed from its base and slightly damaged, with a tidy pile of potting soil on the ground beside the pot and a mysterious blue metallic flashlight left behind—and an obvious hole in the container where miniature Hosta ‘Little Jay’ was thriving and blooming just hours before when I turned in for the night. Who on earth would creep into my yard, flashlight in hand, and remove a single miniature hosta that is easily attainable for less than $10 from a local hosta farm? Mind you, there are all kinds of much more desirable (and expensive) plants—cllvias, aspidestras, sanseverias, stapelias—and handsome containers filled with all kinds of new, rare, and unusual plants scattered around my front yard and porch in containers that could be easily snatched in less time than it would take to disengage that single miniature hosta from the root-bound confines of its hypertufa home. What’s more, anyone who knows me or has ever visited my garden or who lives in my neighborhood or walks by my garden knows very well that if you asked me, I would share any plant with anyone who ever bothered to ask to me. In fact, I particularly pride myself on my plant-sharing personality (after all, I’m bombarded with more new plants each spring than I could ever successfully tend in the not-so-big garden that surrounds my turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts bungalow and the plants I’ve passed along now punctuate my street…so that when I take my good dogs on their daily walks, I am able to admire the habits and virtues—as well as the disappointments—of many more plants than I could ever experience in just my own over-planted garden). It seems the selfish gardener knew very well what he or she was looking for. Most disconcerting to me, the culprit seems to have been someone—a friend? a visitor from a garden tour?—who had visited me and knew their way around my front-yard garden and what specifically they intended to take and make their own. Most disturbingly, within 24 hours of the crime, the left-behind flashlight mysteriously disappeared from the scene of the crime. If anyone has any information about these hosta hijinks it would be most appreciated. I’ll keep you posted.