On my drive to work, I pass a home built up on a ridge, off the two-lane road, behind a chain link fence. The driveway is secured by a motorized gate which I’ve never seen open. In the ten years I’ve been driving to work, I’ve never seen anyone pull into the drive our come out of the gate. The house has a bright, canary yellow front door but the chain link fence is overgrown by vines and grass. But, in the swale between the road and the chain link fence, an optimistic, hardy, determined wildflower meadow bloomed. Black-eyed susans appeared in bunches. Spikey, lavender thistles rose four feet and then the clumps of grasses sprouted elegant vibrant orange spikes.
In a matter of days the fence line and down into the culvert the area was abloom in what I later learned were Gladiolus dalenii, commonly known as African Parrot gladiolus. I told my husband that I wanted to go on a midnight mission, a bit of guerilla gardening and STEAL a few plants. In the cover of darkness, he could pull off the road and I could jump out with my trusty Sneeboer shovel and harvest a few plants, rehome them.
He refused to be an accomplice to theft.
It is good to have someone call you out. But beyond that, he also helped find a solution. Without words, a slip of paper appeared on my desk with a name and address for the owners of the house-with-the-yellow-door.
So, I wrote a letter and asked if I could buy a few of their plants. I taped the letter to their security gate. And they texted and welcomed me to come harvest some plants. And they refused my money.