Phil and Lorrette Gray of the Maples restaurant can’t figure it out. Nor can Trina Wilson, the gardener who for the last six years has been diligently working the garden beds that surround the restaurant.
Starting pretty much as soon as she began transplanting annuals in June, Wilson noticed that some of them were being dug up. In July, when the plants were established and were filling out the gardens with colour, they started being dug up in earnest, one or two a night.
It’s all pretty disheartening for Wilson and the Grays, who see the gardens as a way of beautifying both their own property and Sharbot Lake as a whole.
“There are a lot of nice looking gardens in Sharbot Lake, and I wonder if they are being vandalised as well,” said Phil Gray.
Trina Wilson points out some tiny geraniums that she has put into the largest of the garden beds after the gazanias and begonias that were in full flower had been dug up. And it is not only annuals that have been taken. A two-year-old purple coneflower that was coming into its own and a well-established sedum plant that was located next to it are gone as well.
“You see they cut thought the sedum, maybe it didn’t fit into their pot, so I could re-plant what was left,” said Wilson, pointing to the plant that is sitting in the middle of the empty spot that had been filled by the larger bush and the coneflower.
Most of the other plants in front of the restaurant, including striking morning glories climbing up the banister by the front door, are set off by the lush perennial bushes that frame the property, demonstrating how nicely things had been coming along before thieves began lifting plants.
“At first they were leaving holes, but lately they have been repairing the ground around the plants and leaving it looking as if nothing had been there,” said Wilson.
“None of this makes a lot of sense, except if someone is transplanting these plants into their own garden,” said Lorette Gray, “but why would someone do that?”
The Maples has reported the thefts to the OPP, but unless someone is caught in the act, it will be a hard crime to prove. In the summertime, Maples staff are generally in the restaurant from 7:30am until about 10:30pm since it is so busy, so the thefts are taking place in the dead of night.
It’s disheartening for everyone involved.
“We pay for the plants, we pay Trina to take care of the garden all summer, and it is not something we do for profit as it has nothing to do with sales, but our customers like it and it is good for the community, and it’s nice to see flowers coming up in the summertime. It adds so much colour. But we don’t really know what to do. This has never happened before,” said Phil Gray.
If anyone has any information to share, call the Maples at 613-279-3200.