SWAMPSCOTT (CBS) – Call it the mystery of the hydrangea cutting. If you take a close look at the plants at two houses in Swampscott, you’ll see that somebody snipped the stalks. And the homeowners think they know why.
“It’s a very strange thing,” says Dewey Spofford.
“It’s a mystery. Yes it is,” adds his neighbor John McLaughlin.
They’re talking about what’s left of the hydrangea bushes in their yards. It started at the Swampscott home of Dewey and Joan Spofford.
They noticed the damage when they came back from a trip this month. “Two thirds of it were cut and the stems were cut at an angle, which is pretty unusual to do it that way unless they knew exactly what they were doing,” Dewey Spofford says.
It’s the second time the plant was hit. The first was almost exactly one year ago. And the thief left nothing behind. “Everything was picked up perfectly,” Spofford says.
Then, right down the street from the Spoffords, John McLaughlin took a look at his hydrangea. “Sure enough, the same kind of cuttings. They were all cut at an angle, professionally. Somebody apparently wanted some cuttings,” he says.
The neighbors’ working theory is that somebody snipped the plants to get more plants to sell. “I did some research and looked it up and the winter cuttings are the best time to do it because they are hardwood cuttings. They can have a hormone treatment on the bottom of them, put them into soil and they grow up apparently very easily,” says McLaughlin.
Now they’re hoping their plants come back in the spring, and that the thief does not. “We need a camera on the roof,” Spofford says.
Besides being just plain strange, the thefts are also a little creepy. The Swampscott Police have been notified.