When Garry Barlow celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with wife Denise recently, the last thing on his mind was that, just two days later he would lose one of his most prized possessions.
Mr Barlow, from Weston, was left heartbroken and worried last Monday when he discovered that his beloved bonsai tree had been stolen from his backyard by brazen thieves.
Mr Barlow, 70, only has 5 per cent vision and his pride and joy, which he had named Mr Miyagi, remarkably also 70 years old, had been with him for the past quarter of a century.
While Mr Barlow cares for other bonsai trees in his fecund garden, it was Mr Miyagi that formed the centrepiece – with the avid green thumb watering the plant twice a day, rain, hail, or shine, at exactly the same times each day.
He said that he hoped whoever nabbed Mt Miyagi, which Mr Barlow estimated to be worth approximately $3000 had the decency to look after the old bloke.
“Miyagi was a Japanese juniper and he has to be watered regularly,” Mr Barlow said.
“I just hope they look after him because if they don’t know how to treat him, he’ll die.
“I just paid 68 dollars to get him bloody serviced.
“Once every couple of years, I take him down to get him properly serviced because – with my sight – I’ve got no confidence with trimming at the root structure.”
The plant was sitting outside on an outdoor table with other bonsai trees, and given that the house and adjacent shed were not disturbed, the family believes the thief knew what they were taking rather than it being a crime of opportunity.
Mr Barlow added that aside from losing his pride and joy, the theft has left him feeling unsafe.
“For the first time in my life I’m looking over my shoulder,” he said.
“I lived in the Blue Mountains for 25 years at Yellow Rock and we never locked the bloody front door but now I’ve had to put locks on everything.
“It makes you feel like you’re in a prison.”
Mt Barlow said that he now brings his remaining bonsai trees inside overnight and intended to erect a screen enclosure around his outdoor area to keep the others safe.
“It’s not as bad as losing your underpants in public, but I miss him and I really hope I do get him back or at least, whoever has him takes the time and care to look after him.”
Mr Barlow’s daughter Denean, said she was urging anyone with information on the missing plant to contact her on 0401 632 647.
“I beg you to please return it,” she said to the thief.
“We just want him back.”