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Robbing the dead ?......or preserving some unusual plants !

Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,964
Last year I undertook a new gardening venture for an 'older fella' in his late 70's ; more of a favour than a regular commitment .
His deceased wife apparently had a penchant for alpine plants in her heyday ; he didn't know much about them but just appreciated them for what they were , probably for sentimental reasons .
Upon my first visit , he asked me to ID four particular plants which (were) or still are growing on a raised scree-bed in the centre of the lawn .

Imagine my surprise when these four turned out to be:-
1) Jeffersonia (Plagiorhegma) dubia (Twinleaf)
2)Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Pleno' (Bloodroot)
3)Phyteuma humile
4)Soldanella pusilla
plus other more common species .

Now comes the question :- I havn't been since late-Autumn 2017 due to weather and other jobs ; I've had a message recently that he died last month !
What would you do ?...... he has no immediate family , the bungalow is already on the market , and there's a strong possibility that it will be bought by newcomers with no knowledge of these kind of plants .
I am due to visit again to 'tidy-up' whilst the property sells (which won't be long) !
Do I do the ghoulish thing and take these plants to preserve them? Is it more moral to
leave them to face probable destruction ?
He was a very nice 'fella' who would most likely have wanted these beautiful plants to be looked after , but his unexpected demise has created an awkward situation .

What to do??? Any opinions will be appreciated !
I don't feel like I'm robbing the dead , but the thought of those species being destroyed probably to make space for a hideous trampoline or something like is not pleasant .

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  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234
    OOoooh that's a toughy. A house near me was being demolished and I had a similar dilemma about theft. I compromised by taking cuttings and leaving the parent plants. Would that be a possibility?

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,560
    As with any house sale, plants in the ground are part of the sale so you can't take them legally. I don't know about soldanella but I think the others are all propagated by division in the spring, so I'd be inclined to include a bit of 'overcrowding reduction' in your tidying up - split them up and take some divisions of each but leave the mother plants or a good chunk in situ. Then you can remember the nice 'fella' and his wife and the new buyers - who may be plant lovers - will get the chance to treasure these little gems as well which will quite possibly be the better for the division in any case.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,964
    Thankyou for the advice ; maybe turn a 'moral blind-eye'(!) and thin them out a bit !!
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234
    Some folk aren't quite so scrupulous. When I picked up the keys to this house, the solicitor handed them over and said "by the way, I stole a lump off that lovely plant in the front garden". 
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,729
    Paul B3 said:
    Last year I undertook a new gardening venture for an 'older fella' in his late 70's ; more of a favour than a regular commitment .
    His deceased wife apparently had a penchant for alpine plants in her heyday ; he didn't know much about them but just appreciated them for what they were , probably for sentimental reasons .
    Upon my first visit , he asked me to ID four particular plants which (were) or still are growing on a raised scree-bed in the centre of the lawn .

    Imagine my surprise when these four turned out to be:-
    1) Jeffersonia (Plagiorhegma) dubia (Twinleaf)
    2)Sanguinaria canadensis 'Flore Pleno' (Bloodroot)
    3)Phyteuma humile
    4)Soldanella pusilla
    plus other more common species .

    Now comes the question :- I havn't been since late-Autumn 2017 due to weather and other jobs ; I've had a message recently that he died last month !
    What would you do ?...... he has no immediate family , the bungalow is already on the market , and there's a strong possibility that it will be bought by newcomers with no knowledge of these kind of plants .
    I am due to visit again to 'tidy-up' whilst the property sells (which won't be long) !
    Do I do the ghoulish thing and take these plants to preserve them? Is it more moral to
    leave them to face probable destruction ?
    He was a very nice 'fella' who would most likely have wanted these beautiful plants to be looked after , but his unexpected demise has created an awkward situation .

    What to do??? Any opinions will be appreciated !
    I don't feel like I'm robbing the dead , but the thought of those species being destroyed probably to make space for a hideous trampoline or something like is not pleasant .

    No family? Who arranged the funeral?

    I’m sure there is someone to talk to and legitimise your pragmatic proposal.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    Is there an estate agent's board outside the house?   Why not write a letter explaining the situation and ask the estate agent to pass it on to your late friend's executor?
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,453
    I would just snabble a bit of each, but you could contact his executor via the estate agent and ask to have them. Say something like you would love to remember him by them. If the house is not under offer then there shouldn't be any issue taking anything from the garden.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,655
    If they're not yours , if you don't have permission to take them, (even tiny bits ) then it's theft to take them. Simple. 
    Devon.
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,964
    Theft or not , I wish to save at least some of these plants ; will carefully divide and look after them .
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,037
    I would stomp on my conscience and take a bit of them. And then pray to the Green God that my bits don't die!
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
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