OPINION

OPINION | What are your thoughts on picking flowers from other people's gardens?

I went for a walk and they followed me home, I promise.

I went for a walk and they followed me home, I promise.

What are your thoughts on picking flowers from other people's gardens? Asking for a friend. Obviously.

I'm not talking about waltzing up the garden path and making off with the prized peonies.

More just snapping off a bloom or two that overhang the fence.

Legal or no?

My "friend" also wonders about the appropriateness of stealing...I mean...sampling the odd blossom or three from street trees.

She says it's not her fault - the trees shouldn't put on such a display in spring if they don't want to their flowers re-appropriated.

I mean, if everyone did it, the tree would be denuded in no time - I see that.

What I meant to say is, that's what I told her.

But - and this is verified by the fact that most street trees have all their bits - everyone doesn't do it.

That argument is patently a red herring. So where does that leave me? I mean - her.

Oh okay, I admit it. I'm the leaf thief, the street tree sampler, the over-hanging flower forager.

I just want to know whether other people would approve or be appalled by my actions.

Not that I'd stop. I'd just be more surreptitious about it.

As it is, I usually give the street a quick glance up and down before I break off the coveted growing thing. Just in case someone thinks it isn't okay. Or in case a resident has a large dog nearby to chase me away.

But then I saunter on, gathering ye rosebuds while I may, flaunting my booty (as in my plunder, not my butt - heaven forbid) until I can't fit anything into my hands and I have to go home, where I offload them into jam jars filled with water and wander out again.

Then I saunter on, gathering ye rosebuds while I may, flaunting my booty (as in my plunder, not my butt - heaven forbid)...

I guess I'm hoping that once I have it, people will assume my brightly-coloured loot is legitimately obtained and not the product of the aforementioned sneaky thievery.

But for all I know, people have noticed and been talking about me.

I'm dreading the day I see something about myself on the local Facebook page: "Has anyone seen that strange woman walking around nicking flowers and things? Should we call the police?"

I know that if a neighbour's lemon tree overhangs your yard, you're allowed to pick the fruit.

And if their half-dead eucalypt branches sways dangerously over your kids' swing set, you have a right to get them cut back.

But the rules on public pickings, whether the letter of the law or the socially acceptable custom, are, well, blurrier.

After all, the footpaths and byways aren't my own land. They are, I suppose, council land in the most part.

And we all know councils have too much to do - at least, judging by the length of time it takes to get a DA in many places - so I wouldn't want to bother them with my trivia. Let them work in peace, I say.

My foraging is largely innocent, more in the spirit of a toddler gathering 'special' stones and twigs - inexplicably chosen (to us) but precious (to them) - than some mercenary expedition.

It's not like I'm picking people's waratahs then selling them for $10 each out the front of my house.

Although, now that I've thought of it, anyone want some cut flowers? I'm just going out for a walk...