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Cleveland Cultural Gardens on lookout for thief, vandal
Jill Odom | August 1, 2016
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The Polish Cultural Garden features busts of famous scientists and artists as well as plants. Photo: Cleveland Cultural Gardens

One of the gardens of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens has been robbed of its valuable landscaping plants, which volunteer caretakers paid for out of pocket.

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens is a string of 29 gardens, each devoted to a different nationality. It’s celebrating its centennial this year, but there’s no celebrating these days in the Polish Cultural Garden. Hundreds of dollars of hydrangeas, phlox and hostas were stolen after finally establishing some roots and blooming.

A year ago the Polish Garden was showing signs of long neglect when three women of Polish heritage stepped up to the challenge and revitalized the space in a few months.

“We’re invested in this,” Connie Adams, who is the Polish Garden Delegate to the Cultural Garden Federation of Cleveland, told . “It’s a labor of love and we are very sad right now.

“Last evening,” Adams said, “somebody came and stole some very expensive plant material, and we’re a little disheartened by that … a lot disheartened.”

Now the garden has gaping holes where bright blossoms used to be. Other cultural garden delegates were dismayed at the news of the theft.

“When people come and steal it, it’s like stealing from all of Cleveland,” said Cindy Fish, the delegate for the British Cultural Garden.

Some are concerned about future thefts since the gardens are open to the public.

“Unless we pitch a tent and have someone on guard which, how ridiculous is that?” Fish said. “That’s sometimes what you feel like you have to do.”

The Polish Cultural Garden was dedicated in 1934 with the planting of an elm tree from Poland. It features a hexagonal court and seven busts of Polish artists and scientists.

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