Flower farmers infuriated by ‘creepy’ overnight raids on their garden beds

Two flower farmers who fought back after crippling losses from flooding rain earlier this year are feeling violated, after discovering thieves have repeatedly been sneaking in to steal their blooms at night.

Key points:

  • Flowers were stolen from Julie and Erin Dore’s farm early on Monday morning
  • The Dores believe they have been repeatedly targeted
  • The farm had just recovered from flooding earlier this year

The financial losses may be small, but the unsettling “creepy” repeat raids have angered the hard-working mother-and-daughter team.

“I was infuriated; if I found out who it was I’d hate to think what I’d do actually, I’m so angry,” Erin Dore said.

“I was just shocked that there’s people that desperate and sad out there.”

Erin Dore says no one else in the region grows or sells purple delphiniums like these ones stolen from the farm.(Submitted: Erin Dore)

Julie Dore contacted her daughter on Monday morning after two stems of their distinctive purple and white delphiniums went missing overnight.

The flowers had taken six months to grow.

“I was planning on having a day off, public holiday,” Erin Dore said.

“We’d done a wedding on the weekend, so we were pretty tired, and she just texted me and said, ‘Did you harvest one of our big purple delphiniums?'”

The answer was no, and the pair soon realised that snapdragons, gerberas, stocks and corn cockles were also missing.

A trail of petals led out of the property onto the street in Gympie’s Southside.

Bits and pieces of broken flower stems and petals. The thieves left a trail of broken flowers behind them.(Submitted: Erin Dore)

“Once we started chatting we realised that we think it’s actually been happening for quite some time,” Erin said.

“I thought Erin had dropped a couple as she’d run out to get things and she thought I dropped a couple, and we’d seen it for a few weeks,” Julie added.

“So, we just don’t know how much we’ve really lost, missing a few here and there.”

A young woman crouches near a row of colourful snapdragons. Erin Dore is grateful for all the support that followed devastating floods earlier this year.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

The pair had celebrated a spring boom in blooms and the floristry business Erin runs from their “she-shed”.

Community support kept their fledgling flower farm afloat after it suffered significant crop losses during flooding rain earlier this year.

A woman in a blue t-shirt holds up a tray of tubers. Julie Dore salvaged dahlia tubers, but 65 per cent of their flower crop was lost to floods in March 2022.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

The pair have worked hard to rebuild, improve and expand on the flower beds in the yard, beside Julie Dore’s historic Stumm House in Southside.

They welcome visitors for farm gate sales, but not sneaky thieves in the night.

A gorgeous old Queenslander with a verandah and lots of potted plants around it. The flower farm surrounds a 132-year-old Queenslander originally owned by journalist and politician Jacob Stumm.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

The family has asked customers to be on the lookout and posted pictures to their Petal Head Farm and Florist Facebook page of blooms similar to the ones that were stolen.

“It’s an invasion of privacy plus a very bold move; I don’t know how someone could do it to be honest,” Julie said. 

“It makes you feel a bit sick actually to think about it.”

Security cameras have been bought and a front gate will be installed and locked at night.

They have contacted police and hope a neighbour’s security cameras could help catch the culprit.

Erin doesn’t believe the thefts have anything to do with her appearances on reality television show Farmer Wants a Wife.

“It’s been happening for a while now, before that show even went to air,” she said.

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