Fenceline Harvesting

Are you one of those gardeners who carry a plastic bag and a pair of secateurs with you when you take your dog for a walk, though not necessarily to pick up the dog manure for the garden.

Do you drool over those plants that are just out of reach across someone else's garden fence? Or do you go for walks around your community just to see what's in flower at the moment in everyone else's garden?

Do you glance around to see if someone is watching at dusk, then assist the unknown homeowner by helping prune off a branch that just happens to get in your way while you are walking along before kindly help them "rubbish 'for them?

The fact that the prunings just happened to end up composed into a pot of quality propagation mix with a coating of root forming hormone spilled onto the open wound has nothing to do with it.

Or that the composed material is quite often treated with more care, attention and loving devotion than the spouse of yours sitting indoors, really has nothing to do with the end result that the pruning suddenly develops into a plant of it's own.

But do you realize that this practice is not only illegal, but many times it may even be hurtful to the garden owner, or even damage the plant or even contribute to the plant contracting a variety of diseases either through the secateurs or the open wound.

Yet many of these gardeners would be only too pleased to give you a piece of that plant if you were only to ask them nicely.

They generally take it as a compliment, that you so admire a particular plant that they are growing, that you would want to grow it in your own garden. Many times they will even be able to give you an already directed division or sucker or even a seedling of the parent plant.

While you are already there talking to the garden owner, it is also good opportunity to find out more about the plant, and the required growing conditions it requires. For me this has led to many acquaintances who I talk to on my walks, and yes, even friendships have been formed this way.

But at the same time I would have to say that I am no saint on this charge myself, yes there have been times when I have acquainted plants and cuttings without permission. Usually in waste ground around properties, or at commercial sites etc.

But I am getting better, 'Plant-aholics is helping'; but unfortunately I do not think I will ever be totally cured. I can only take it one day at a time, and I also expect that every so often I will slip back a step or two.

So what about you, do you have the strength to admit to being a plant-aholic and a fenceline harvester.

Do you have the guts to take the first step and go and ask for help?