Floral bandits strike on Olympic View Drive: Have you seen these 33 stolen lilac plants?


I have a sad story to share. Last Sunday, my husband and I planted 33 ceanothus impressus Victoria to have a continuous hedge along the street side of our home. We picked it for the drought resistance, and for the attraction for bees and butterflies and hummingbirds. After waving to the little babies last night from the window (yep, I’m a woman who talks to her plants), I awoke to 33 empty holes. Someone came by in the middle of the night and stole every single one.

He's digging the holes and I'm settling them in.
He’s digging the holes and I’m settling them in.

I know there are worse problems to have in life (I’ve been battling brain cancer for five years now so I can roll with the punches), but even a little thing like this makes you incredibly sad. If you get approached by anyone selling those little 1-gallon-sized California Lilacs, could you please contact me?

This was the first permanent plant that we chose together. We never really thought we would be able to afford a home, in the first place, with all the years of brain surgeries and cancer treatments, but a miracle happened and we found a little 1950s gem of our own here in Edmonds.

Our baby California Lilacs tucked into their beds.
Our baby California Lilacs tucked into their beds.

We were so excited to watch our little bird/bee/butterfly bushes grow over the years, and couldn’t wait to supply the neighborhood with pollination and beauty. We adore this community, the neighbors have been incredibly inviting, we walk down to the farmer’s market every Saturday for our groceries, and I spend most days at the library, after taking our dog Emma to the dog park. (Holy cow, a waterfront dog park?! Fancy.)

Our baby plants gone. One by one, I scanned, then sat and rested my forehead on my knees. It's just unbelievable. Even Emma (upper right) looks despondent.
Our baby plants gone. One by one, I scanned, then sat and rested my forehead on my knees. It’s just unbelievable. Even Emma (upper right) looks despondent.

Have any of you ever had something like this happen? I’m embarrassed to say I’m crying about this. It’s the violation, and disregard for our personal space. You never know what people are going through, and those little beautiful plants were a vision of hope and longevity. I probably sound crazy, it’s hard to explain. Sometimes you just need permanence in your life when everything else is always up in the air. I hope this doesn’t happen to any of you guys. Here’s a photo slide ending with the glorious spring, midsummer blooms. I want to plant them again, but won’t because I fear the thieves will just take them again. It’s a sad day in our garden.

We will move on — this thievery will not be that big of a deal — but it’s an ugly choice that people make, and when you make ugly choices against others, your heart will never be fulfilled. One of the most hopeful, and saddest, parts of the whole deal is that people from the neighborhood kept coming by and encouraging us. They introduced themselves, we made more friends. It’s becoming a community within a community. Even the two vivacious little girls next door last night rode their bicycles over to our house to say how much they loved the plants (they both love hummingbirds and butterflies). They were thrilled about the possible hummingbirds, and bees, and butterflies for next spring and summer. Now I feel bad because everyone was so excited with us, and I have the task of letting them know that there’s a plant bandit and beware.

We were anticipating the gorgeous spring and midsummer blooms.
We were anticipating the gorgeous spring and midsummer blooms.

I am sharing this story so that it may help someone else be prepared to avoid something like this in the future. I don’t know how one would prepare for a thief, other than surveillance cameras. Any other suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. A police report has been filed. We will look into surveillance monitoring systems. There are always solution of sorts, but I certainly wish we didn’t have to live like this.

To the thieves: “Come on people, we’re in this life together. We make the decisions on who we want to be, and how we want to treat others. In every second you’re making decisions, and in every second, you can change the direction of how you’re going to live. It’s all your choice. Maybe it sounds too simple, or hopefully not too preachy, but if you want to be happy, be happy. If you want to be nice to others, be nice to others. Decide what you want, then go for it. Your life will be forever changed. Your heart forever changed.”

 — By Jessica Oldwyn

7 Replies to “Floral bandits strike on Olympic View Drive: Have you seen these 33 stolen lilac plants?”

  1. Wow this is crazy! Once the county planted several six foot trees one day near our house and the next day three were missing. The people who have stolen and planted other people’s plants in their yard have bad karma.
    In 6 months use google earth and see who has 33 of your plants growing in their yard. It has to be someone who saw you plant them and knew they could easily be picked up at night.
    And yes, get surveillance cameras – there are more thefts occurring all the time sadly.
    So sorry this happened to you!!


  2. Amazing. Who steals 33 plants in the middle of the night? Maybe a really sleazy landscaping company? I wouldn’t assume anyone who ends up with them even knows where they came from.


  3. This is just sick! I doubt if theses folks will even see your story but I hope those plants make them happy! Such a violation is reprehensible. Maybe you could try just planting one at a time and see what happens? I would be glad to chip in to help buy a few.


  4. Jessica,
    This makes me incredibly sad.
    Would you ever consider setting up a GiveForward fund [or some similar platform] that routes to your bank account that we could all contribute to?
    Then, I am sure that Edmonds garden groups and neighbors/volunteers would gladly take over the replanting.
    This should never have happened, I’m so sorry.
    https://www.giveforward.com ~ Emily Hill


  5. This is very sad. What a bummer to wake up and see this on my news feed. C’mon Edmonds…we’re better than this! If I know this town…and I think I do…it won’t be long before we pitch in to help make this right.


  6. We had holiday lights in our front yard on the street side of the fence. My son (9 years old then) chose them and he is an amazing kid with a ton of resilience. He noticed immediately they had been taken as we were leaving for school. It was tough getting him through the tears to go on to school. They were beautiful blue blinking snowflakes. I went and bought 2 of the last strands available. We put one of them inside the fence and sure enough exactly a week after the 1st ones were stolen they stole the 2nd strand. I put a big sign on my driveway for a week asking them to stop stealing my sons favorite lights and making him cry. I also noted on the sign offering to buy them their own if they would just return them. No response of course. Luckily we had one more strand for the locked back yard. It was a great lesson for all of us to learn but it was extremely violating. Let me know when you plan to replant them. My son and I would love to help. It might be quite helpful for him. I would ask him of course and I am pretty sure he would totally be up for helping out. You can at least count me in ; ).
    dayna (another resilient Edmonds citizen).


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