Dude, Where’s My Obelisk?

Do garden sneaks arrive in the night wearing slippers?

You could have sworn it was there when you went to bed last night. A beautiful—and pricey—metal obelisk for a clematis to scramble up. This morning: only a empty space where the garden designer installed it.  Obelisk? Gone, baby, gone.

You had planned on watering the garden first thing in the cool of the morning. When you walked around the side of your house, all you saw was a dripping tap and….no hose. Gone With the Wind.

The garden thieves have struck again in my neighbourhood. This time the target was tools and garden structures. It was oddly coincidental that I heard these stories of disappearing garden objects only a day after Catherine Porter’s plant theft article ran in the Toronto Star. (Toronto Gardens’ Helen was interviewed about her kid-napped blue flax.)

I spoke to garden designer/Plant Therapist Paul Geary, of Petal Pushers, who had installed the garden with the disappearing obelisk. He fixed the problem by re-installing another, This Time With Concrete. He has had large size Japanese Maples dug from his installed gardens as well. He figures that the thieves watch for new plantings, and come in the night when the soil is freshly dug. Easy pickings. Dastardly doings.

On my way home I saw my hose-less neighbour trudging back and forth to the tap with a small watering can. She was remarkably cheerful about it, and the fact that it was a very nice day probably helped.

I used to think that bicycle thieves were the worst kind. They are bad. But laying in wait to dismantle a freshly planted tree, garden structure, or unscrewing and making off with a hose from the side of a house. It’s not funny, Dude.


  1. It is incredible the lengths some people will go to, isn't it? I am always amazed at the audacity of those who sneak about seeking fresh additions to gardens. I've heard of daphnes, hydrangeas, garden ornaments, lydia broom all disappearing under the cover of nightfall. Sometimes right from a front yard, visible to any would be passersby. Unbelievable!

  2. Oh my Helen, that is just Beyond – it's hard to imagine how one rationalizes such behavior. I've walked around parts of NYC and seen shrubs chained to the ground – now I know why!

  3. Thought I could hear your voice, Sarah! Is that you?

    My obelisk is hidden in the rear garden, behind latched gates at the side and front: I'm a cynic. Have heard too many stories like this one. Phooey to garden thieves, I say. And sorrow to my friends and their tales of woe when plants are pulled right out of the ground. Just ain't right.

  4. That's so low! Somebody somewhere is either having a garage sale or installing a nice garden! I have had folks come into the garden and cut flowers~Mind you they weren't invited to do such! gail

  5. It does boggle the mind that people can stoop this low, Rebecca. Just think of those poor maple roots just as they are sinking into their new home, and being yanked out again.

    Shirley it really is unbelieveable. I'm so surprised at the extent of it, from all the comments.

    Cyndy, I hate to think of having to chain things up. I've seen people chain their chairs to their front porches, but it is the only way to slow these thieves down, sadly.

    Susan, it is kind of funny to think of someone fencing an obelisk, or a garden gnome at a pawn shop. I really do wonder at the idea of Organized Crime in the gardening department.

  6. Alice, how nice to be recognized, yes, this was my post. Hello there!

    Mary, I am really curious about that myself, how do they get rid of the stuff?

    Jennifer, I'd be so mad to have a bird-house stolen, cause it's not just me but the birds get put out. I've been lucky so far in the bird-house department. But I've had two iron patio chairs swiped.

    Gail, I hope karma assures that they be haunted forever by those hot garden accessories if they put them in their nice gardens.

    Esther, I guess garden hoses aren't cheap anymore, so they probably go in a sale pretty quick.

  7. I just saw this. How terribly disappointing… for both your garden and for the state of humanity. We know the world is rife with thieves, it is everyday news, but from your garden! So sorry, Helen.

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