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Controversy blossoms in Swampscott: Who is assaulting the hydrangea bush?

The cut hydrangea bush in Swampscott. (Owen O'Rourke)

SWAMPSCOTT — One Ocean View Road couple has a strange problem. They say someone has come onto their property at least twice to trim a significant portion of their hydrangea bush.

David “Dewey” and Joan Spofford live at 23 Ocean View Road. David said his wife planted a hydrangea bush 30 to 40 years ago right in front of the house.

Last November, David said they went to Maine for four to five days and when they came back to their home, they noticed that 50 percent of the bush’s branches had been cut. He said they thought it was a “little bit funny” and figured that someone around the neighborhood might have trimmed it.

Around the middle of this month, David said the couple went to Maine again and returned to find that two thirds of the hydrangea had been cut.

Looking at the way the hydrangea was cut, David said all of the stems were cut at an angle, with not one sign of debris left on the plant, which leads the couple to believe that the person who did it knew exactly what they were doing.

“I’m absolutely convinced that this was a professional job,” David said. “They didn’t do it to damage the plant (and) left certain branches so you might not notice they were cut.”

David said if someone cuts the stakes, they could plant them in their cellar or greenhouse over the winter and plant them in somebody else’s yard for the spring, which he thinks was the intention.

To make matters worse, David said between the weather and the cutting last year, the hydrangea didn’t have one blossom on the plant this year. He said they’re wondering if it will blossom next year.

“My poor plant is mangled,” Joan said. “(It) will not blossom.”

The couple says the same thing has happened to one of their neighbors, who also has a hydrangea bush. They reported the most recent incident to police and are hoping by going public, whoever is responsible will stop. Joan said they’re considering putting some type of chicken or barbed wire fencing around the plant.

“We just want to let whoever’s doing it (know) we’re aware of it and upset,” Joan said.

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