Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Gardening Difficulties (Theft!)

A few days ago I bought some new native plants and put them in the ground: two bush mallows (Malacothamnus fremontii), a white sage (Salvia apiana), a second foothill beardtongue (Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs'), a second California fuchsia (Epilobium canum 'Calistoga Hybrids') - and in the front yard, two sacred datura (Datura wrightii). I put the last two in the front yard to keep them away from the dogs, because they're extremely poisonous if eaten. Relatedly, some people use them as hallucinogenic drugs, although this sounds like a particularly stupid choice of drugs to me, since (a) many people who attempt to use it accidentally overdose and die, and (b) most of the people who survive describe their experiences under the influence as having been severely unpleasant. It causes true hallucinations, meaning that the person hallucinating believes the hallucinations are real, unlike with the perceptual distortions caused by LSD. It also causes blindness and fever. And according to the Wikipedia entry about it, some users die not from overdose but rather because the terrifying hallucinations panic them and the inability to see prevents them from seeing where they're going, so they run into traffic and die from being hit by a car.

I also happened to have a related datura plant volunteering in the back yard (the non-native Datura stramonium), so I transplanted it to the front yard near the two native daturas to keep it away from the dogs. I've been watering all the new plants daily so far, because it's been so hot and I want to help them get their roots established as soon as possible so they can survive the heat. One of my new bush mallows has already been producing flowers. Boston dug up my other new bush mallow, so I replanted it and I'm hoping it will recover. My white sage seems to be struggling a bit, but all the other new plants seemed to be doing fine so far.

Except that this morning when I went out to get the newspaper, one of my new native daturas was missing. Completely missing - apparently someone dug it up and filled the hole back in when they were done. There was a 4th of July party on the street in front of our house last night, and in the driveway we share with the other half of our duplex, so I think one of the people at the party must have stolen my datura. And I think they probably stole it for drug purposes, because if they just wanted a pretty garden plant, it wasn't the most logical plant to steal. It wasn't blooming, and I had planted it in a bare spot in our sickly lawn, so that it looked rather as if it might have been a random weed. There are flowering plants in a bed by the front door - a monkeyflower in bloom, a purple alyssum in bloom, and some coral bells with the lingering remains of an old flower stalk. All three of those look prettier than my baby daturas just planted from 4-inch pots. I just can't imagine why anyone would want to steal my datura unless they recognized its drug use potential. And if someone was so familiar with its drug use potential that they recognized the plant on sight when it was tiny and not flowering, shouldn't they also be familiar enough with its drug use potential to know that using it is overwhelmingly likely to be unpleasant and also carries an unusually high risk of death?

This is really very irritating. At least when Boston digs up my plants in the back yard, I can put them back in the ground and hope for the best. When humans dig up my plants in the front yard and take the plants with them, all I can do is sit and wonder whether the person will accidentally kill themself as a result of the theft.
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