Plant nursery helps nonprofit after theft

Nursery owner provides replacement plants after thieves raid garden


GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A local business stepped up to help out a nonprofit organization after plants were stolen from its garden.

Challenge Enterprises is a nonprofit in Green Cove Springs that employs disabled people and offers programs to help them become self-sufficient.

One of those people is Allen Scarborough. Last week, he and a group of other employees spent the day creating a garden in front of the organization's main office?. It was part of a life skills program.

But they pulled in to work this week only to find the plants had been stolen.

"I'm surprised about it and feel kind of sick about it," Scarborough said. "They were all gone in the next one to two days."

"We had just planted them, and they looked so beautiful," Katie Vineyard said. "(We had) so many comments from the community, and then, 'bam!' They're gone. It was shocking just to see the holes."

After hearing about what happened, Kari Blandford, owner of Durbin Creek Nursery, decided to help out.

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"It's disheartening that somebody would come and do that after they worked so hard to try to make their entrance look pretty," Blandford said.

She donated new plants and brought some help to get the empty garden blooming again.

"They do so much to help the folks that work for them, and it just seemed like a nice way to help out," Blandford said.

So one by one, a group from Challenge Enterprises filled the empty holes.

They even added scarecrows to keep thieves away.

"I hope they don't (do it again)," Scarborough said. "We put too much work into it."

Blandford said she'll do her part to keep an eye on things.

"On my way to work I'll be stopping by to make sure all the plants are safely intact," she said.