All Things Gardening forum: Trouble saving old plants and stuff at a house

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 12:19 PM CST
Ok guys I need advice. There is a house just up the street from me (I am in county but barely, the house is probably city limits?) that looks semi-abandoned, it is mowed, but thats it and never seen anyone there before. There are lots of iris and peonys around the place. It came up for sale recently zoned commercial and there is a huge sign out front. I still didn't know if it was occupied so I knocked on the door and no one answered. I looked around the place to see if there was anything I DID want, it sets off the road so hard to see what all is there. I called the realtor and told him I lived up the road and could he ask the property owner if he would mind if I took some iris. He said QUOTE 'sweetheart you just take what you like out in the yard because that property is zoned commercial and the house isn't livable, it's all going to go'.

OK? so I assume that means all of what is in the yard is ok to take. Now granted I realize that if I am digging around and find great grandmas long lost wedding ring, or a trunk of pirate gold--that does not count. I'm not stupid.
But I did think that meant that I could take the concrete bench, (laying on the ground in an overgrown bush) and a pair of concrete planters, a birdhouse and some iris/peony. That is all I took. So while I am digging up the plants, the landowner actually pulls in the driveway. Which I am somewhat confused about, because if no one cares, why he is there? and not only that, but since the realtor told me I could take what I wanted, I assume there is no landowner-as in a person, but that it is owned by a bank, foreclose or something like that.

So I approached him first and asked if he was the landowner, yes, and he wants to know what I am doing, I can see clearly that he is irked and had no clue what was going on. I told him I called the realtor and had his permission. He says, well that is not the realtors place to say that, you should have contacted me directly. I said well I called the realtor because I didn't know who owned it. So he went on and on about how lucky I was that he didn't shoot me, and kept insinuateing that I was stealing and it is legal in MO to shoot tresspassers for stealing. (I had all 3 of my teen kids with me) The guy was polite, he didn't actually threaten me, curse or anything like that. But he was really mad I could tell. SO I just said, 'ok well I am very sorry for the misunderstanding, and I would never just take stuff without calling, I thought calling the realtor would be sufficient. What would you like to do now' (I did not dig all the iris, just some starts.) He said he was wanting some of the iris himself (place has been for sale for 3 or 4 months and has sat empty he said for several years, so I'm thinking well just when you were planning on coming for them? ((sarcassm)) ) Ok, so I very sweetly asked him if he would like to go ahead and take the ones I already have dug, and while we are here I can help you dig any others you would like (there were other colors), so he said his mom planted them back in the 70's and had moved them from a property they had lived at before that. He said he was looking for other colors. I told him I grow iris and I am always giving them away and selling them ect, I only live up the road and I said if you want some different colors you are more than welcome to come see what I have. OK so we spent the next 30 mins digging iris and boxing them up and moved the concrete bench from my van to his pickup. Then he asked me for my name and phone number, insisted on seeing my drivers license ? I asked his name and where he lived, and he said 'Oh, I live across the street'. I said " oh, I had no idea who lived there, we're always driving by looking at your cats'. (cat hoarder-well he says strays that are dumped he spends $100 month to feed). Keep in mind the property he has for sale is worth a FORTUNE. I don't know what to make of the whole thing. First I understand that I would be irked too if someone just randomly started taking stuff off of my property. BUT this wasn't like that, I DID call the realtor first. Secondly, I took nothing of real value. I mean the most pricey thing I had was a concrete bench which you can buy new at Lowes for a whopping $50. For a NEIGHBOR that owns a VACANT property worth over a MILLION $ (that is what I was told by another neighbor, 24 acres with Interstate frontage) I am MIFFED (and should I be worried?) that he would be so nasty about the whole thing. We split what was dug, so he did let me take the iris I had dug, but then he insisted on seeing my drivers license like he thought I was a criminal or something... I do really hope this doesn't turn into anything serious? I don't see how he could press any kind of charges against me? But he struck me as if he was the type who try. Shrug!

I very much covet and thoughts about this PLEASE!
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
May 5, 2016 12:29 PM CST
Stop worrying. Even though "permission" was granted by the realtor, it wasn't the realtor's right to give it. You did everything right and sharing the plants you dug was very generous of you. The bench may have held memories for him so that's almost a gift you gave him since he could have overlooked it very easily.

I can only guess he wanted to see your license since he wanted to be sure you lived down the road. That had to satisfy him and please him. Now he knows you're sincere.

Why not go to his house and ask if you can exchange some cat food for more irises and peonies? Can't hurt!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 12:47 PM CST
He just drove by the house a few mins ago and waved at my girls playing football in our yard (we homeschool).

Thank you Pirl. I hope you are right. I can't put a finger to it, but he just seemed nasty. He lives by the way in a TINY house right across the road that is so downrun the neighbors (including me) thought it was empty or at least not fully occupied. The place is SUPER trashy and there is an abandoned vehicle in the FRONT yard FULL of junk. I guess I just can't wrap my brain around someone who clearly HAS money, but chooses to live like that and it is such an eyesore to the area.

You ever meet someone who has everything, and will let it go to waste, but doesn't want anyone else to have it either. ? That is what he was like, only with split personality Sticking tongue out

Ok, I'm gonna go try do something else for a while and get my mind off of this whole weird thingy. Maybe I'll get the iris planted he gave me, before he sends the sheriff for me Crossing Fingers! Shrug!
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
May 5, 2016 1:42 PM CST
Can anyone reading the OP imagine being this "case" being heard in court? They'd laugh him right out of the courtroom.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 1:47 PM CST
thank you Pirl.


Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier
pirl
May 5, 2016 1:54 PM CST
I'll be thrilled when he stops to apologize though I do understand his initial alarm.

There is a house within a mile that has old birdbaths, statuary, gazing balls/stands, outside. I was always ready to see a date and time for a yard sale but it's never happened. The house is a wreck and "unkempt" to say the least. Maybe that's how they like to live - to each his/her own, just hard to comprehend.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 2:08 PM CST
I dug up like 2 peonies and he went on and on about how expensive they are to buy and how he could not let me take those.

I just looked up on the real estate listing, and I stand VERY corrected.
The land is listed at TWO million $ !

I understand that just because a person has money does not give other people the right to steal or take advantage of them. But that is not what happened here, by any means... what a stingy hateful old man. Oh, he did mention he was divorced, wonder why?! Whistling

what was funny about the whole thing, we were talking about vacant houses and that led to termites. I told him my house had termites really bad and the bathroom was going to have to be torn out and rebuilt because the exterior walls actually move, there is no strength left in the wood. So I said If I ever win the lottery I don't buy tickets for, I'm gonna rebuild my bathroom. He said' if you ever win the lottery, just build a whole new house!'

Coming from someone who is living in a house that clearly is far worse than mine, and is dripping with money Confused (that is the part where I concluded that he has split personality Hilarious! )
Name: Ibis
Florida, Orlando-ish (Zone 9b)
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IbisFla
May 5, 2016 2:26 PM CST
He sounds like a very sad man. It was clearly a misunderstanding. Maybe when he thinks about it a little bit, he may let you go back and get some of those peonies.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 5, 2016 2:47 PM CST
Sorry for your bad experience. It's difficult to figure these things out. The houses on either side of us went into foreclosure during the real estate bust and after the prior owners moved out, I wandered around to see what was there. I didn't take anything, but did note several nice boulders in one yard and some whimsical yard art pieces in the other. The banks hired a 'clean-up' crew for the yard art house and those folks took anything and everything that was not nailed down (likely part of their contract). The prior owner of the other house (with the boulders) gave me permission to take the rocks, but I just felt kind of squishy about running our tractor over there so didn't do so (plus my husband thought I was nutty). As it turns out, I'm fairly certain the new owners just rolled those gorgeous rocks down their hill into the weeds.

As an aside, I try not to judge folks on the appearance of their yard - some folks simply don't have the time, money or inclination to do yard work. Difficult for me to understand, but it does not harm me so do what you want. My brother is totally opposite me and only lives in 'covenant' neighborhoods (which would drive me bonkers). He is actually proud that his current neighborhood does not allow outdoor clotheslines. I can't even imagine what might be distasteful about airing your clean laundry? And needing approval for the color of your own house? Beats me.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 2:59 PM CST
Oh, I could never live anywhere where someone tells me I can't air dry my laundry. I feel it is no ones' business. I detest HOA. Although, I do understand sometimes why people do it. I see a difference in some one who CAN'T maintain their yard, either for physical reasons, or if even they are mentally not capable. But for someone to clearly have the means and ability and not do it, that is different.

Yes it is my understanding that the 'clean up crew' is allowed to take whatever they want. We had a neighbors house like that once.

Deb, that is a shame about the nice rocks. Other people just don't have feelings for rocks like us gardeners do huh? Lovey dubby but then I actually talk to mine sometimes Whistling



Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
May 5, 2016 3:35 PM CST
I'm sorry this happened to you. It would upset me, too. Sad

This misunderstanding was completely the realtor's fault. He shouldn't have told you it was okay without the owner's written permission. It wasn't your fault or the land owner's fault. I can understand how both of you were "miffed" about the situation. From your perspective, you thought you had done your due diligence and gotten permission. From the land owner's perspective, since he clearly knew nothing of your conversation with the realtor, he just saw strangers stealing his family's belongings. The realtor is the one that owes you both an apology.

Just because someone has a piece of property that has an estimated value of a couple of million dollars doesn't mean that they are cash rich. From what you said, it seems he inherited the land from family. The land was probably dirt cheap when they bought it 40 years ago. He may very well be a poor man who has inherited a valuable piece land and is struggling to pay the property taxes on it until it sells. It may take many years for the property to sell and for him to have the actual cash in his pocket. Just a thought... Smiling
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 3:41 PM CST
that is true, I thought about that, but who knows. I think from the way he talked, he owns even MORE land than that. He said he was a truck driver, I am assuming retired now from his age. Shrug!

I thought it strange too that he spends $100 mo feeding the stay cats, but he told me spaying is too expensive ?! okaaaay. I don't know where all the cats come from around here, another neighbor told me she had 19 cats fixed last year Blinking There were like 21? cats here when we moved in. We had to get rid of them. Some of them craigs list, some to friends, some hit by cars (no way to avoid that, we live on a busy hwy and some were pretty ferral/wild)
so sad for them all. Sad
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 5, 2016 3:50 PM CST
My first question was how did YOU know he was actually the homeowner?
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 4:12 PM CST
because he pulled into the driveway, and I asked him if he owned the place


or are you asking if I actually looked at his drivers license to check his address Rolling my eyes. I should probably go pound on his front door and when he answers I will say 'oh, I was just checking to see if you really do live here like you said'. ok, then I WOULD be shot, I am certain nodding

just so cooky. Hilarious!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
May 5, 2016 4:25 PM CST
I would be inquisitive enough to call that real estate agent back and explain what happened. If nothing else, the agent needs to know that he/she made a mistake, giving you access to the yard. If the agent confirms that indeed the owner lives across the street, I would ask her/him to please call the owner and explain that the mistake was his/hers.
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 4:47 PM CST
Oh, Ken, I just CAN'T.

I just want to crawl under the table and hope this whole thing goes away! Sad
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
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drdawg
May 5, 2016 6:47 PM CST
If our mistakes are never known, we can't possibly learn.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
May 5, 2016 6:50 PM CST
ShadyGreenThumb said:My first question was how did YOU know he was actually the homeowner?


That occurred to me, as well... really, anyone could have pulled in and said they owned the place, right? (or, maybe I missed it... did you actually recognize him as being the owner?)

and I totally agree with Ken, that the realtor should be informed about what happened.

Frillylily, you didn't do anything wrong -- I think you handled the whole situation amazingly well; but I think it's going to continue to eat at you unless you get some kind of "closure" about what's really going on. Group hug
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 5, 2016 7:49 PM CST
I had no idea he was the owner, have never met an owner. I have seen that truck parked at the little house across the street though, so I am sure he lives there at least. I am feeling better about the whole thing moreso, I told my dh when he got home from work, and he was like yeah, what a nutcase Rolling my eyes. Anyways.... I am just going to continue on as if I never met him because it was better that way Whistling

I did happen to mention to him if he had ever come to the neighborhood picnic (once a yr) because I didn't recognize him (many of the neighbors around come). I was fishing, to see if we HAD met before because I am terrible with names and such. SO anyway he said no one has ever invited him and he didn't know there even WAS a neighborhood picnic. So later I was thinking, gee I see why no one has invited him Hilarious! hope the neighbors are not mad at me now..... Sticking tongue out

On a positive note, I am getting brand new neighbors right next to me this wkend and first met them today, and they seem super normal and nice. Really enjoyed talking with them-so glad that looks like it might work out. The neighbors that moved were great and we hated losing them. This new lady was really interested in my garden and said she is coming over to visit when she gets some time. Smiling
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 5, 2016 8:40 PM CST
I didn't mean anything by my question. I doubt you are in trouble in any way, @Frillylily. It's just that anyone can drive up and *say* they are the owner, look at your ID etc.. He may have lived across the street and eyed the bench and plants for a long time and just made up a cute story? I mean, why would he wait 3 years to gather those things that are so important to him? Why did he wait for you to struggle alone to get the bench out of the weeds? Or maybe I just watch too much TV? Or he does?
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.

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