A green-fingered grandmother landed herself in a spot of hot water after experts on a radio gardening show identified her mystery plant as being cannabis and told her she was breaking the law by allowing it to “unwittingly” grow in her garden.
Grandmother-of-five Patricia Hewitson enjoys nothing more than a little bit of quality time pottering around her garden, pruning, pricking, trimming and growing the kind of foliage that’ll impress the guests and make fellow gardeners say, “Wow! I like it. I like it a lot.”
As all those not afraid to get their hands dirty know, cultivating the finest plant specimens takes a trough full of time and a whole potting shed full of discipline and dedication. In the garden he who lives by the trowel dies by the trowel and it’s pretty much safe to say that you reap what you sow.
So just imagine the 65-year-old’s surprise when a mystery and fast growing plant popped up in her petunias, that had an abundance of healthy green foliage, pretty patterns on the leaves and which appeared to thrive in a spot where lesser plants had perished.
“It popped up between my petunias. I just left it there and it grew and grew and grew. It was quite useful because it filled a rather difficult space, but in a couple of months it was almost as tall as I am.”
Every gardener’s dream right? Wrong! Patricia’s pretty plant would eventually attract the attention of the law after it was identified on her local radio gardening programme as being cannabis.
The Daily Mail reported that Mrs. Hewitson was so intrigued as to the identity of the mystery plant that she posted pictures of it on Facebook and invited friends to identify it.
With no definite answers forthcoming, Mrs. Hewitison decided to ask the professionals and sent a picture of it to the BBC’s Potting Shed. The show’s resident experts obviously know cannabis when they see it and they obviously know what is and isn’t illegal, because after instantly identifying the mystery plant they dutifully forwarded the photo to the police.
When she was told on air what she had unknowingly cultivated in her garden, the retired health visitor was hard to say, “Oh dear.”
Police confirmed that although an offense had been committed, there were mitigating circumstances and no charges would be brought. Since learning the identity of her mystery plant, Mrs Hewitson has chopped it up and is preparing to dispose of it in accordance with police instructions. She insists she has no hard feeling towards the Potting Shed team for reporting her to the police.
“I don’t mind that they told the police – it actually put my mind at rest. They accepted that I wasn’t intentionally cultivating it and said I wouldn’t be prosecuted if I destroyed it.
“I did get an email asking if they could come and look in my loft though – but I live in a flat, and I haven’t got a loft.”
As for how the cannabis plant mysteriously blossomed in Mrs Hewitson’s garden in the first place. It’s thought to have sprouted from a rogue hemp seed found in an RSPB-approved mix she used in a bird feeder.