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Picking public flowers


I was coming home with mum this afternoon and we passed a woman with what looked like her daughter (of about my age) walking up the lane all grinning in the sunshine and carrying a couple of daffodils. When I was little we had planted a load of daffodils on both sides of the lock gates near where we live, and I wondered whether that’s where they’d got them from. When we got back I realized that all the flowers on our side of the canal had been snapped off and taken away. I found this a bit upsetting, particularly that people could come along and take away the last flowers on a plant that’s been put there for everyone to enjoy.

I think in the past I’ve heard on the news about people being outraged at being fined for picking council flowers (and have a vague suspicion that it might actually be illegal). I remember being in Newcastle last year and seeing a group of mums with their young children picking bunches of crocuses off the bit of green around the church and thinking it was sad that they’d probably be forgotten and wilt in a few hours, when they could have lasted days longer, and been cheery for everyone who passed.

I’m curious to see what other people think about this…. is it acceptable to pick publicly planted flowers? Should they be left alone? Or is it only alright so long as there are plenty of others?

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This is a tricky one...cos I remember as a child picking bunches of flowers , some from public spaces...some from (ashamed to say private gardens!) We used to take them in to teacher as a gift! In my defence, I loved flowers and wanted to pass them on as a gift.
However, in my `more golden` years I have been an active member of our local `In bloom` group, and we work tirelessly and voluntarily to improve public spaces for everyones enjoyment. and just recently was quite taken aback when a young child (encouraged by her parent) picked a handful of flowers from one of our beds.
I would be the last person to discourage young people from enjoying flowers, but I think if they are are planted for public display then that`s where they should stay.

27 Mar, 2012


I think it's a disgrace - they should be left in place. I don't even pick them from my own garden unless they're snapped. I agree when they are planted in a public place, they should be left there.

27 Mar, 2012


Surely it would be illegal anyway, one should never take anything from someone elses property and just because its in a public area it doesn`t mean we as the public actually own it, I don`t care how many there are, they should be left alone for all to share and enjoy...

27 Mar, 2012


I have to agree with the about comments.
So many people have no respect for where they live or other peoples hard work.
I would suggest a flyer to be posted or dropped in mail boxes or posted in local paper or announced at meetings. Children should be raised to respect someone else's hard work time and money.

One day I was out front in my garage, I was on the phone, I saw what looked like a dad with a few kids come in our front area and go through the arbor to the other borders that are next to the road. ( apartment living in LA ) I did the garden borders then and they were the best on the street. ( it wouldn't be difficult to be the best around here ) I wondered who they were but as I was lost in conversation on the phone I didn't look to see and just though like many they were admiring the flowers. Awhile later I saw them across the street and the eldest child about 8ish had a huge bunch of our roses in her had!!!! I let lose at her and her dad for picking all our roses. It's despicable to think that parents raise their kids to steal other peoples flowers! Grow your own I say! I should have taken them back, but I hope the guild set in and they may be less likely to do it again. ( Hardly think so knowing what they are like around here. ) ( If they don't have and you do, if they can steal it they will )

Although I've seen it many times from grown ups too. It blows my mind and infuriates me. So fines are ok with me.

I too often see a flower that has been picked then discarded on the path, then realized it came from the garden up the street. Why do people do that? Just pick it to throw it away moments later.

Having said all that as a child growing up in Ireland I loveeeeed to go wild flower picking over the fields and woods.

27 Mar, 2012


I totally agree that people should definitely not pick flowers from a public or private garden which is not their own. Last year, in the autumn, there was a knock on my front door & an older lady asked if she could pick a few of my hydrangeas at the front ... which at that time of year were a magnificent crimson colour. They are the Only flowers we have at the front until we have the time & energy to put in a garden there. I could see that she had just come out of the church across the road, & thought she might have wanted to take some for displaying in the church. I said it was fine to take a few & she asked me if I had scissors to cut them with, so popped back indoors & got her a pair of scissors. A few minutes later, I glanced out through a front window & was amazed to see that this lady had been joined by two other ladies & that the 3 of them were returning to the church with their arms full of hydrangea blooms. I went out to look at my hydrangea shrubs & they had left hardly any blooms on them at all!! Thankfully they had left the scissors on the front porch, but I was so angry that they had now deprived us from having a display of flowers at the front of our otherwise bare house. I daresay they will turn up on my doorstep again in a few weeks, & this time I will be saying a definite but polite NO. As a small child on my way home from school, I was guilty of stealing pretty flowers growing across front fences, which had wilted in the summer heat by the time I reached home, but an elderly lady came out of her house one day & gave me a good telling off (I must have been about 6 years old) & I cried all the way home & never did it again. I never let my own children do that. Maybe there needs to be signs put up "Please Don't Pick the Flowers"? I'm sure many parents just don't stop to think that everyone picked the flowers, there wouldn't be any for anyone to enjoy.

27 Mar, 2012



Thoughtful of them in one way but then to be so greedy!
I'd put that sign up on your hydrangea before they think to come back for more. Say they have been sprayed with bug spray.

28 Mar, 2012


what a cheek dwylis,I dont pick flowers and have never allowed my children to,the only flowers I remember picking were dandylions and mum said i was never to pick them again and when my nana told me they made you pee the bed that was that for me,chris

28 Mar, 2012


I was an avid wild-flower picker and had piles of scrap books loaded with pressed flowers, but I suppose having had a garening-mad Dad who brought me up to respect and leave alone the garden flowers was enough for that message to sink in. My children were brought up with the same respect. Other peoples' property should be respected - and that includes 'council property.' Bring on the fines! (Or - dare I say - bring back flogging?) ;o)

28 Mar, 2012


No noo noooooo no picking flowers anywhere, much better in the garden, I only pick if they have got broken or knocked over, shame children and parents cannot respect peoples property and gardens which have been set for us all to enjoy.

I once caught about 6 children, well say caught they were much quicker than me, but it was too late they had stripped the plum trees of the fruit and they could run very fast back to the gypsy caravans parked on spare land about a mile from our house, the oldest would not be any more than 8 and the youngest looked about 4. No plum jam that year for me. lol.
I hate people STEALING because that is what it is, nothing more can be said - I would fine them, but who would know, the police are never anywhere around when these things happen and if they were they would not be able to do anything.

28 Mar, 2012


Thanks for all your answers :) It seems as if this is quite a common problem, and surprising that so many people seem to indulge in this! Mum was saying yesterday that part of the reason she never really put many flowers on the outside of the hedge by the towpath is because she knew people would just steal them.

I too feel guilty taking them even from my own garden (but I do like having them in the house, or on the outside table!), so make do with little posies... and i keep telling myself if I plant more flowers I won't feel so bad about it! :P

It sounds outrageous that those ladies could take away almost all of your Hydrangeas Dwyllis! Its one thing asking to pick a few, quite another to strip a bush!The same goes for the story of Angie's roses and Oliveoil's plums. I wonder whether its because these people have no gardens of their own, or whether its just a lack of consideration.

I thought maybe it was me being a bit of a misery guts for getting annoyed at people doing things like this, so its reassuring to see that other people feel the same. Although I wonder whether as gardeners we are more likely to be upset by something like this, and whether maybe non-gardeners have a more laid back attitude?

Anyway, thanks again, and hope you're all enjoying the beautiful weather!

28 Mar, 2012


Yes Jennyfer I think you're right that gardeners are more likely to be upset by this than non-gardeners. I think it's awful of people to do this, flowers planted in public places should remain there for all to enjoy. The only cut flowers I ever have are ones people buy for me. Now I'm a gardener I understand my mother who hated to cut flowers from the garden.

28 Mar, 2012


The flowers are there for everyone to enjoy, so should be left alone. However, many people are selfish and thoughtless and spiteful :o(

30 Mar, 2012


i agree they are there for every one .............. glad to see u back hun xx

30 Mar, 2012


Thanks Cristina :) + thanks everyone.... it really can be hard to understand how people can not think twice about things like this :( x

6 Apr, 2012

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