A plant thief dug up and stole hundreds of dollars worth of plants from the Shade Garden memorial in Lemon Park.

A favorite location in Lemon Park has been the victim of a thief that has stolen numerous plants from a memorial site.

Mark Eckhoff, parks superintendent, said a women, described to be in her 50s, was seen digging up plants Monday at the Shade Garden started years ago by Al Alingh in honor of his wife Barbara. Alingh gave the original money to start the garden.

Eckhoff estimated about $500 worth of plants, mostly hosta plants, were stolen. The hosta is a leafy plant that grows from one to two feet and they were all over the area that is now just a blank space.

Along with the plants, thousands of dollars in hundreds of work hours were stolen, work put into the garden in the last dozen years in weeding, fertilizing, watering and adding new plants.

It takes about three to four years to get hostas established. Now, there are big gaps of just mulch and holes where a beautiful landscape used to be.

"She totally destroyed that shade garden," Eckhoff said.

Eckhoff said he planted about 70 plants worth $200 in the garden just last fall. It's too late this year to get plants started there so he will have to wait until fall to fill in the big gaps in the garden.

Anyone with information about the thief should contact the Pratt Police Department at 672-5551.

This is not the first time a thief has stolen plants from the park. Years ago four big elephant ear plants were stolen the night after they were planted, Eckhoff said.

@GaleR_Tribune