Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Ken Smith, a community gardener, reviews the damage to his plot. Vandals knocked knocked over and pulled up plants in the town’s Community Gardens. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Linda Gramatky Smith for WestportNow.com
Some Westport community gardeners are left to replant their gardens after vandals tossed aside bean poles and plant cages and pulled up some plants.
Gardeners Ken and Linda Smith arrived at the gardens at about noon today to find the bean poles from their garden tossed over the fence.
“At first we just thought a deer had done it, but then we found large footprints,” Linda Smith said. “It was little malicious things.”
The first six plots in the community garden were the ones that took the damage, she said.
A tomato plant, she said, had been pulled out, including its roots. The wire plant cages in other gardens were pulled up and some plants were whacked down.
Until this point, she said, a lock had not been placed on the gate to the community gardens, which are located next to Long Lots Elementary on Hyde Lane.
“With everything that had gone on—first the passes and then the top soil—no one had thought of a lock because no one even thought of vandalism as a problem,” Smith said. “Now I’m sure we’ll get a combination lock.”
Mary Ann West, another gardener, said it’s only been about two weeks since the plants were first put into the soil, but it is still upsetting.
Smith said the gardeners filed a police report and alerted the school. Gardeners had been in the garden at 7 p.m. on Monday, she said, so the vandalism could have occurred any time between then and noon today.
Smith said her husband, who does most of the gardening, said it was frustrating and discouraging to see the vandalism, especially since it has taken so much in the last seven years to get the gardens up and running again.
“Everyone will just have to keep going,” she said. “They’ll keep planting and do what they can.”
Posted 06/27/06 at 07:28 PM Permalink
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It is ironic that some of the young people whom we wish with our whole hearts to protect from any sort of harm have apparently vandalized the ground and the work that is most basic and most symbolically meaningful to our community.
Did they view the community gardens as a target for vandalism because of the comments of town officials? How strange and twisted must young people’s view of the controversy surrounding the establishment of community gardens be?
How have those responsible for leadership in our community lost touch with common sense?
Whoever committed the vandalism is responsible for it. Not “young people” and not “community leaders.” Full stop. Some people are so quick to jump to conclusions and assign blame.
I think the last comment was very good. When we spoke with the police, we were very careful not to blame anyone. The footprints were too large to be any Long Lots elementary child. They could have been a teenager’s or an adult’s. Only the six gardens nearest the gate were vandalized, so the presumption is that the vandals didn’t want to get “stuck” further back in the gardens with no exit if someone drove up. On Saturday a lot of teenagers were seen checking out the cars and hanging around in the parking lot, but I guess that the town knows that this is place where they gather. Does anyone have an idea how the police can find out who “committed the vandalism” if they are to be held responsible as the last writer suggested? I’m proud of all the gardeners in whom “hope springs eternal” and they are replanting again with the idea of wonderful vegetables this summer. Someone suggested that there are still plots available if there are any young people who would like to plant their own garden. The gardeners are of ANY age.
Perhaps we’ll catch those teens at the observatory. I hear Jim and Judy went up there to find Plato.