11 June 2021
Stealing or sharing?
A number of years back I attended a funeral of an elderly friend. Her children reminisced about their mother going for strolls around the neighbourhood, always coming back with ‘slips’ from other peoples gardens.
It wasn’t a word I was familiar with, but by the end of the funeral – where everyone was encouraged to bring a cutting from their garden, put it on the coffin, and take one of the other cuttings home to plant, I was very familiar with the concept. And it’s a word that has stuck with me.
Striking plants from cuttings was definitely something my Dad did. A lot. There were always small pots with tiny little plants that, if they survived the experience, got repotted somewhere else. And no doubt got cuttings taken from it later in its life too.
I’ve tried unsuccessfully to take cuttings from my sons’ avocado tree, I’ve successfully taken cuttings from my lemon tree, I have heaps and heaps of cuttings from succulents, and frangipani pots are everywhere with cuttings from my range of different coloured trees.
I haven’t, as yet, helped myself to a ‘slip’ from a neighbours garden.
I think the world has changed, vis-à-vis helping yourself to bits of your neighbours garden. I suspect that nowadays you are more likely to be considered a thief for helping yourself (uninvited) to a cutting. If you knocked on their front door and asked, I’m sure you would more than likely be told to help yourself. But to take a ‘slip’ uninvited???? Maybe not.
People offer up excess fruit willingly – you will often see buckets of lemons or oranges placed at the front of a house, indicating to passers by that they should feel free to take some. I’ve even seen olives offered up!
But generally our mindset in regards to our gardens has changed. I say this confidently as a person whose passion fruit vine at the front of my property is bulging with fruit slowly ripening.
I have accepted (faux graciously) that the fruit on the front of my fence is available for whoever spots the ripened fruit first. I agree it is very tempting. They look big and delicious. Just not quite ripe yet. There are a couple that are starting to darken that I know, with every fibre of my being, that I am not the only person keeping track of the progress.
The fruit growing on the inside of my fence is a different matter, and the security cameras, 24/7 armed guards and razor wire fencing should give ‘fruity slip takers’ the hint that these ones – I’m not sharing.
But comparing my garden to my attitudes about community, kind of makes me sit back and wonder about my principles.
I truly, firmly, and not in a faux manner, believe that our community is the best it can be when we share with others. Whether it’s buying a homeless person a meal, giving blankets and sleeping bags to charities to distribute to people sleeping rough in winter, to giving your neighbour a cup of sugar or a kidney…. We can’t take it with us when we die, and it can make a difference to someone right now.
I’ve got sleeping bag bags to donate – and any of the passionfruit on the front of the fence.