Crime & Courts

Someone tried to kill their plants 2 weeks before the busiest season, SC nursery says

Celebrate the Rocky Shoals Spider Lily

The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily's are blooming on the Broad River near the Riverfront Park in Columbia. There are only about 50 healthy clumps of the flowers blooming in only three states.
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The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily's are blooming on the Broad River near the Riverfront Park in Columbia. There are only about 50 healthy clumps of the flowers blooming in only three states.

The plants at a Greenville garden center were attacked and splattered them with an “orange chemical,” according to the Upstate nursery.

Employees of Martin Garden Center came to their plant haven on Thursday morning and found that most of the plants at the nursery were struck by the orange splattering, a statement from the business said.

Shrubs, greenhouse plants and production plants still growing for the spring season had the iridescent, poisonous substance tossed on them. Martin Garden Center owner Reggie Meehan said she’s estimating the cost of the affected plants to be over $150,000. The alleged vandalism also comes two weeks away from the start of the full spring season, the busiest season of the year, the statement said.

“The financial losses are incredible,” Meehan said. “If the plants are determined to be permanently affected or die, all new plant material will have to be purchased and brought into the nursery.”

Meehan said they’re waiting to see if the plants will be completely killed and that could take up to a week.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is investigating and said the malicious damage was done between 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 8:00 a.m. on Thursday. Lieutenant Ryan Flood said the orange substance was an herbicide and it affected 15,000 plants. The herbicide was also poured into a water supply, Flood said.

The garden center was forced to close as they assess the damages and try to clean the plants.

“Clearly the intent to harm us was there,” Meehan said.

An outpouring of support came from social medial when Martin Garden Center posted about the incident.

“Who the heck would do this to you guys?!” said one supporter who called Martin Garden Center her favorite and offered up herself and her kids to help with the cleanup.

Another wrote, “This is horrible! I hope they find the guilty ones and they get a hard sentence.”

A supported also said Martin Garden Center “has lifted my soul.”

“We are so appreciative of the outpouring of support from the Greenville community,” Meehan said. “It is the community that will sustain us until we get back to business.”

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said they haven’t been able to collect any helpful video and have no suspect. It’s asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers of Greenville at 888-274-6372.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.


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