Spring Brings out an Act of Thievery

It was all my mom’s doing. She put the idea in my head.

As warmer weather approaches, my mom has been surveying her new garden, established last year at this new little house of hers, to see what has survived and what plans to re-appear. We had received permission from the house owner of her former home, a man who cares nothing for flowers or keeping up a yard, that she could dig up whatever she wanted for transplanting. (See old house below)


We collected bluebells, lily-of-the-valley, 2 rose bushes, 5 lilies, a clump of hostas, grape hyacinths, the white violets (a treasured, rare collection that clumped under the backyard tree), the clematis vine, spider plant seeds and numerous other whatevers that I can’t remember the names of.

In the past 2 weeks, I’ve found her mid-mornings stooping over the bare earth along the back fence to see what has managed to survive.

One row of tulips never did make an appearance. She dug around to find the bulbs with no luck. She fears the squirrels got to them although another row miraculously are doing very well.

The white violets are there, much to our relief. The rose bushes survived and the clematis has tiny green leaves making their way from all the straw-like, twiggy dead stalks of winter. We didn’t find any lily-of-the-valley but the bluebells seem to be happily making this their new home.

While I was perfectly satisfied with Nature’s offerings in our new back yard, my mom wasn’t.

“I should have dug up the poppies,” she announced with irritation after returning with the dog from her morning walk. “I went by the old house and it’s a complete mess. It took me 25 years to create that garden and now it’s just going to pot. Those poppies are going to be gorgeous but no one will appreciate them..”

She frowned.

“Well, if you feel that way, why not just go and dig up those poppies? And might as well get more lily-of-the-valley, while you’re at it. I’m sure he doesn’t care.”

She looked thoughtful.

“He did say to us come over at any time and take whatever else you wanted,” I further encouraged. “I doubt he’ll even know anything’s missing.”

And so it was that my mom and her enabler (me!) came about to being thieves of springtime.

We completed our mission yesterday at the old house, taking bins and pots, the shovel and clippers, to hack our way through the brush to find what she wanted. Despite the fact we had been given permission a year ago to do so, we did wait until the big white truck was no longer in the driveway before stealthily, and swiftly, pillaging her former garden.

We left with more grape hyacinths, another clematis vine, lily-of-the-valley clumps and the poppies.

Now all are transplanted and safely positioned in the soil alongside the outside of the back fence.


Hopefully, they will survive the journey and joyfully make this their new home.

As for the mother-daughter burglary team, I think that pretty much takes care of our acts of unlawful behavior. . . Well, at least for this year, anyway. Who knows about Spring of 2023, after her inspection here a year from now of what took and what didn’t? I wonder how long her old house owner’s open invitation to dig up plants will be considered valid?

Guess if a future entry details a visit to the county jail, you’ll have your answer.

Enjoy your spring, everyone! We’re certainly enjoying ours

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 30 years as an English language teacher. 28 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my 13th year in Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. The college is located in Luzhou city (loo-joe), Sichuan Province, a metropolis of 5 million people located next to the Yangtze River .
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2 Responses to Spring Brings out an Act of Thievery

  1. Jean Marsh says:

    Love your story! I’m caring for some of my grandma’s plants and flowers that have managed to survive—sometimes through years of neglect. I didn’t have to move them. I moved me!
    Jean in Texas

  2. Kate says:

    LOVE….I’ll bring Don and we’ll bail you out!

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