When I first read about this I laughed my head off until I realized they were being serious. The Colchester Borough Council in Essex, England, is advising residents to use shrubs for self-defense. Doesn’t the city council have any real issues to attend to? Of course, shrubbery does have a long history in England.
In an article titled, “Defensive Planting Helps Combat Crime,” Colchester.gov says it has undertaken a “Defensive Planting Initiative.” This includes advice on planting which is designed “to help residents and businesses choose the best shrubs and other living barriers to plant, in order to boost security and deter crime such as burglary.”
The Defensive Planting Initiative includes “the creation of a specimen garden established and maintained by volunteers of the New Town Community Garden.” That “garden has been designed to show residents which varieties of plants can protect property effectively while also looking attractive, and features a new information panel which lists the names of individual plants on show within and on the perimeter of the garden.”
Angie Pearson is the Colchester Police Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor and tells residents to avail themselves of “nature’s own defense mechanisms.” She said, “A barrier of prickly hedge or a climbing rose growing through a trellis fixed to the top of your fence may be all the protection you need around your property.”
The council also provides a list of preferred plants:
- Creeping Juniper – Juniperis horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’ – Also known as ‘Blue Rug’, has a thorny stem and foliage.
- Blue Spruce – Picea pungens ‘Globosa’ – Rigid branches, irregular dense blue, spiky needles.
- Pencil Christmas Tree – Picea abias ‘Cupressina’ – Medium-sized tree of columnar habit, with ascending spiky branches.
- Juniper – Juniperus x media ‘Old Gold’ – Evergreen. Golden-tipped foliage. Prickly foliage.
- Mountain Pine – Pinus mugo ‘Mughus’- Is a very hardy, large shrub or small tree, with long sharp needles.
But of course that will lead to more laws. You will need to either put locking covers over the thorns until they are actually needed or they need to be kept locked up in a child proof safe. You will also have to prove you have a need to protect yourself.