Bitter resident row over who owns flowers on public pavement conducted via written notes goes viral

A resident involved in a row over who owns the flowers on a public pavement has spoken out over what has been dubbed the ‘most middle-class argument ever’. 

The floral fracas was sparked after a woman, named only as Serena, left a note on a tree outside her home on Dalyell Road in Brixton, south London, last week asking passersby not to pick flowers from the bed below. 

The move prompted an angry response from at least two other residents who criticised her for claiming ownership of the ‘community blooms’. 

But rather than ring the doorbell and confront Serena face-to-face, the furious neighbours scrawled their complaints on notes that were placed in plastic wallets and pinned to the tree below Serena’s original seven-word note. 

The flowers have since been dug up and there have been at least six other notes left – including ones in defence of Serena – bringing the total number pinned to the tree to 10. 

The floral fracas was sparked after a woman, named only as Serena, left a note on a tree outside her home on Dalyell Road in Brixton, south London , last week asking passersby not to pick flowers from the bed below. It has been dubbed the 'most middle class argument ever'

The floral fracas was sparked after a woman, named only as Serena, left a note on a tree outside her home on Dalyell Road in Brixton, south London , last week asking passersby not to pick flowers from the bed below. It has been dubbed the 'most middle class argument ever'

The floral fracas was sparked after a woman, named only as Serena, left a note on a tree outside her home on Dalyell Road in Brixton, south London , last week asking passersby not to pick flowers from the bed below. It has been dubbed the ‘most middle class argument ever’ 

Sadly the argument has ended rather sourly, with green-fingered Serena 'digging up the flowers to take them elsewhere'. Pictured, the empty flower bed

Sadly the argument has ended rather sourly, with green-fingered Serena 'digging up the flowers to take them elsewhere'. Pictured, the empty flower bed

Sadly the argument has ended rather sourly, with green-fingered Serena ‘digging up the flowers to take them elsewhere’. Pictured, the empty flower bed

The decidedly civilised row has gripped the residents of Dalyell Road, pictured. Seen in the foreground is the tree and small plant bed at the centre of the row

The decidedly civilised row has gripped the residents of Dalyell Road, pictured. Seen in the foreground is the tree and small plant bed at the centre of the row

The decidedly civilised row has gripped the residents of Dalyell Road, pictured. Seen in the foreground is the tree and small plant bed at the centre of the row

The decidedly civilised row has swept social media after it was shared on Twitter by writer Rachel Thompson, with one user describing it as ‘peak British nonsense’.  

One Twitter user joked: ‘Don’t worry, at the end of October we’re taking back control of our borders.’

Another exclaimed: ‘This is the most middle-class argument ever,’ while one pointed out: ‘It’s like Twitter if there were no internet (sic).’

Speaking to Femail today, Andrew Wilson, 30, who lives next-door to Serena, explained his neighbour ‘works hard’ on the plants outside her home and takes ‘great pride’ in maintaining them for the benefit of everyone who walks down the street. 

He said: ‘My understanding was the flowers, it was part of a community project originally, not just there but round the corner as well, in a few other places. 

‘I think that after that initial project ended a few years ago then that was it and no one was looking after the flowers. Subsequently she’s been looking after them, buying her own plants, transporting her own plants from her back garden and watering them. 

The original note left by Serena simply read: 'Please don't pick my flowers. Thank you.' Her neighbour Andrew Wilson explained she was simply doing something kind. Rather than speak to Serena, another neighbour left a note criticising her for 'claiming ownership' of the flowers

The original note left by Serena simply read: 'Please don't pick my flowers. Thank you.' Her neighbour Andrew Wilson explained she was simply doing something kind. Rather than speak to Serena, another neighbour left a note criticising her for 'claiming ownership' of the flowers

The original note left by Serena simply read: ‘Please don’t pick my flowers. Thank you.’ Her neighbour Andrew Wilson explained she was simply doing something kind. Rather than speak to Serena, another neighbour left a note criticising her for ‘claiming ownership’ of the flowers

A second note - this one written on a pink Post-It and finished off with doodled blooms - was placed in a plastic sleeve and pinned below the angry 'ownership' note

A second note - this one written on a pink Post-It and finished off with doodled blooms - was placed in a plastic sleeve and pinned below the angry 'ownership' note

A second note – this one written on a pink Post-It and finished off with doodled blooms – was placed in a plastic sleeve and pinned below the angry ‘ownership’ note

The 'trolling' spurred neighbour Mr Wilson into action and he left a note on Friday afternoon defending Serena. He said she was trying to make the street 'nicer for everyone'

The 'trolling' spurred neighbour Mr Wilson into action and he left a note on Friday afternoon defending Serena. He said she was trying to make the street 'nicer for everyone'

The ‘trolling’ spurred neighbour Mr Wilson into action and he left a note on Friday afternoon defending Serena. He said she was trying to make the street ‘nicer for everyone’

A passerby piggybacked onto Mr Wilson's comments, scrawling on the bottom of his yellow piece of paper that Serena's planter had been maintained with 'love', as seen above

A passerby piggybacked onto Mr Wilson's comments, scrawling on the bottom of his yellow piece of paper that Serena's planter had been maintained with 'love', as seen above

A passerby piggybacked onto Mr Wilson’s comments, scrawling on the bottom of his yellow piece of paper that Serena’s planter had been maintained with ‘love’, as seen above

‘Occasionally people just think they are owned by the public and just uproot them or take them or stamp on them. I think it’s just idiots, or people coming from the pub.’  

Mr Wilson, a civil servant, suggested there must have recently been a ‘whole load’ of plants picked from the planter – prompting Serena’s original note. 

The original note simply read: ‘Please don’t pick my flowers. Thank you.’ 

In response a resident using a green marker pen wrote back: ‘In an area massively affected by gentrification it’s sad to see people claiming ownership of even the flowers.’ 

Another local followed up with a pink Post-It note, on which they wrote: ‘Flowers on the public pavements are owned by all the community, not just the house they happen to fall in front of,’ complete with some doodled blooms.

Sometime after the second and third notes were posted, Serena took the decision to remove the plants. She later pinned an update (pictured) explaining it is 'too hard to replace items in this planter as they were constantly being removed' and thanking supporters for their kindness

Sometime after the second and third notes were posted, Serena took the decision to remove the plants. She later pinned an update (pictured) explaining it is 'too hard to replace items in this planter as they were constantly being removed' and thanking supporters for their kindness

Sometime after the second and third notes were posted, Serena took the decision to remove the plants. She later pinned an update (pictured) explaining it is ‘too hard to replace items in this planter as they were constantly being removed’ and thanking supporters for their kindness

The ‘trolling’ spurred Mr Wilson into action and he left a note on Friday afternoon, after the flowers being removed. 

Adding a piece of yellow paper below the pink Post-It note, he wrote: ‘Are you serious? This is not about ownership or gentrification, this is about someone trying to make the street a nicer place for everyone by planting flowers and people stealing them and stamping on them. How can you try and justify that?’ 

A passerby scrawled on the bottom of Mr Wilson’s letter: ‘Totally agree. This was done with love and a spirit of community for Heaven’s sake!’ 

Explaining his response, Mr Wilson told Femail: ‘I’m sensitive to issues of gentrification. It’s really vexed me that someone has conflated the two things.

‘It’s really someone genuinely doing something for the community, I would really love to understand who put those notes up and why. Maybe they are just trolling.’

There was also a printed notice added to the tree (pictured) that informed passersby the planting had been the responsibility of a community group

There was also a printed notice added to the tree (pictured) that informed passersby the planting had been the responsibility of a community group

There was also a printed notice added to the tree (pictured) that informed passersby the planting had been the responsibility of a community group

The move prompted further criticism, with one neighbour - apparently the same green pen critic who had been vocal at the start - saying it had been misleading to refer to the flowers as 'mine' if they had belonged to the community, pictured

The move prompted further criticism, with one neighbour - apparently the same green pen critic who had been vocal at the start - saying it had been misleading to refer to the flowers as 'mine' if they had belonged to the community, pictured

The move prompted further criticism, with one neighbour – apparently the same green pen critic who had been vocal at the start – saying it had been misleading to refer to the flowers as ‘mine’ if they had belonged to the community, pictured

Determined to get the last word, there was another response, possibly from Serena, which suggested the green penned critic use their energy to plant flowers instead

Determined to get the last word, there was another response, possibly from Serena, which suggested the green penned critic use their energy to plant flowers instead

Determined to get the last word, there was another response, possibly from Serena, which suggested the green penned critic use their energy to plant flowers instead

The final post is believed to be this letter of support left for Serena. The neighbour told her that the planters had always 'brightened their day'

The final post is believed to be this letter of support left for Serena. The neighbour told her that the planters had always 'brightened their day'

The final post is believed to be this letter of support left for Serena. The neighbour told her that the planters had always ‘brightened their day’

Admitting it is ‘quite a middle class thing to be annoyed about’, Mr Wilson added: ‘I think she [Serena] took it on her stride. She wasn’t upset, she was like me, just a bit annoyed and confused.’

Sometime after the second and third notes were posted, Serena took the decision to remove the plants. She later pinned an update explaining it is ‘too hard to replace items in this planter as they were constantly being removed’. 

It added the plants had been ‘redistributed to neighbours’ and other planters on a nearby road.

There was also a printed notice added to the tree that informed passersby the planting had been the responsibility of a community group.

The decidedly civilised row has swept social media after it was shared on Twitter by writer Rachel Thompson, with one user describing it as 'peak British nonsense'

The decidedly civilised row has swept social media after it was shared on Twitter by writer Rachel Thompson, with one user describing it as 'peak British nonsense'

The decidedly civilised row has swept social media after it was shared on Twitter by writer Rachel Thompson, with one user describing it as ‘peak British nonsense’ 

Rachel provided updates to the thread and revealed the argument concluded with the original planter removing their blooms

Rachel provided updates to the thread and revealed the argument concluded with the original planter removing their blooms

Rachel provided updates to the thread and revealed the argument concluded with the original planter removing their blooms

The move prompted further criticism, with one neighbour – apparently the same green pen critic – saying it had been misleading to refer to the flowers as ‘mine’ if they had belonged to the community. 

It added: ‘What a shame you have taken it upon yourself to remove community flowers’. 

Determined to get the last word, there was another response, possibly from Serena, which suggested the critic plant flowers instead.  

Another kind passerby took the time to thank Serena for her efforts, adding: ‘I just wanted to say how much I appreciate them’.  

Mr Wilson said Serena might replant outside her home but that she would not ‘put a lot of effort into it again’. 

He added: ‘I think that she just likes to do something nice for the road really. 

‘It’s slightly silly, but I’m just more curious now to find out a bit more why people would take against someone doing something nice for the road.’ 

In response, one Twitter user joked: 'Don't worry, at the end of October we're taking back control of our borders,' while another exclaimed: 'This is the most middle-class argument ever,' while one pointed out: 'It's like Twitter if there were no internet'

In response, one Twitter user joked: 'Don't worry, at the end of October we're taking back control of our borders,' while another exclaimed: 'This is the most middle-class argument ever,' while one pointed out: 'It's like Twitter if there were no internet'

In response, one Twitter user joked: ‘Don’t worry, at the end of October we’re taking back control of our borders,’ while another exclaimed: ‘This is the most middle-class argument ever,’ while one pointed out: ‘It’s like Twitter if there were no internet’

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