16 August 2013

The story of Garden Man

I moved out of my parents house and into a share house a few months ago (something that was on my 2013 goal list), and I am pleased to say that it is going pretty great. My house mates Liz and Greg are awesome, the house is nice enough, and I am in close proximity to some of my best friends.

And best of all? I am lucky fortunate enough to have a completely new adventure saga unfold, for soon after moving in is when I first got to meet who we know only as 'Tony the Garden Man'. Let me begin.

So a few days after moving in I was home alone in the morning doing some work, when I heard a small commotion happening outside. Best to investigate! I grabbed my phone and headed outside, opting to invesitgate the backyard first. I turn the corner of our large shed to find a middle aged man wheeling our garbage bin out of the shed.

"Umm... who are you?" I said.

He jumped, obviously startled, which to me indicated he was under the assumption that no one was home.

"Oh! Hi... why is the bin now kept in the shed?" the middle aged man replied, while holding the rim of my bin, standing in the door frame of my shed door.

"What? I don't know. That's where we keep it I suppose. Hang on, why does it matter? Who are you?"

"Well I need the bin." He replied, completely ignoring my 'who are you?' question. Which was fine actually, because I just thought of a much more pressing question. It had just clicked to me that we usually have a padlock on the shed door... so... how is he now walking out of our shed?

"Umm... how did you get into the shed?"

"Oh, I cut the padlock off"


"I needed the bin, why did you lock the shed if I needed the bin?"

It was at this stage that things started to piece together, for I suddenly realized that this man is slightly mentally challenged, thus probably doesn't quite know what he is doing. I was certainly not going to get angry at a mentally challenged person, as I strongly doubted he was purposely trying to be melicious or troublesome, so I decided to play along and see if I can get some answers. Or better yet, for him to go away.

"Alright, come show me why you need the bin" I suggest.

He wheels the bin along the driveway and out into the front yard... I saw immediately what he wanted the bin for.

"Why is there a large pile of tree branches in my front yard!? Actually, better yet... where did all these tree branches in my front yard come from!?" This is not what I expected to find.

"Don't worry I'll pick all these branches up and put them in the bin for you" he replies in a rather nonchalant kind of way...


I press a little further. "Ok, good... but where did they come from?"

He points over to a large tree along our fence. I can see it is now missing a considerable amount of limbs.

"Whyyyy are you cutting my tree down?"

"It's not your tree. This isn't your house."

"Well, no it isn't my house, but I am renting to be here. Besides, I still have a lot more claim to the tree then you do, you don't even live here! Why don't you do gardening at your own house?" I suggest optimistically, as if suddenly it would click to him that this was an option and he would go home immediately.

"I can't do my garden, I am only renting"

"Well you can't do stuff to my garden either"

"Oh, no, this tree needs to go. It is too close to your power lines"

I look above. The tree is a safe distance from the powerlines.

"I think the powerlines will be ok. What's your name?"


"Good. Ok, Tony, can I have your phone number please?"

"I don't have a phone"

"Not even at your house?"


... ok.

"Ok. So why are you coming to my house and cutting my trees down?"

I then got a 10 minute explanation about all the dangers within my garden. There are tree branches that are apparently too close to the powerlines, which by the way he was explaning it, are about to spontaneously combust at any moment. Also, the gutters are apparently rusting, which may trigger an earthquake if they fall of course, and let's not forget the overhanging branches along our driveway, that could be used to house nuclear weapons!

"Tony. Tony... Tony! Tony, stop. Tony, look at me. Look at me. Tony, here, look!" Eventually my reptitions snap him out of his speech. He stops and looks at me.

"Ok. Good. Now, Tony. Promise me, you are not going to come and chop the rest of this tree down"

"Oh, I can't make that promise"

I cracked up laughing at that response.

"Haha! What do you mean!? No, Tony, come on. Promise me, you are not going to cut down this tree."

He sighs. "Alright".

"Good. Now come back tomorrow and pick up the rest of these branches."

"Fine. Right. I'll see you tomorrow"

And just like that, he walks off down the street, his grey hat on tight and his little backpack on. It wasn't until later that it dawned on me that he must have had the bolt-cutters he had used to cut the padlock off the shed in his bag!

I reenact the story to my housemates when they came home, whom then inform me that he has been coming around for the last 6 months!

"Yeah he has been coming around for ages! You know that tree stump in the front yard? That used to be a giant tree that we just found in pieces one day. And our gate to get to the backyard that is now in pieces... that was him too, he did it while we were sleeping." My housemate Liz informs me.

The lovely secure gate, as curteousy of Garden Man
"No way! Why didn't you call the police or something?"

"Because he always comes either at night, or when we are not home, and we have never met him in person before" says Greg, my other housemate.

"Wow... umm... ok. Well I talked to him today, so hopefully that is the end of it."

It most certainly wasn't the end of it...


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