Hydrangeas Return to Centennial Park

Billy Teitloff says he helped steal two hydrangea bushes from Centennial Park in 1958.

Flowers stolen from Nashville’s Centennial Park more than 50 years ago were returned Thursday. A man from Kentucky claims to have “borrowed” two hydrangea bushes in 1958.

Billy Teitloff says a friend couldn’t afford to buy something nice for Mother’s Day. Teitloff suggested taking a container of hydrangeas from the entrance to Centennial Park, and he ended up driving the getaway car.

“And on his way out, I said, ‘hold it. Don’t get one for her unless you get one for my mother.’”

The hydrangeas multiplied in Mrs. Teitloff’s backyard. Her son eventually came clean and pledged to take part of the plants back to Centennial Park. Not until he was writing a memoir did the 73-year-old get around to it.

Cande Maloney was helping with the book and forced Teitloff to make good on the promise.

“We were very pleasantly surprised that they don’t even have hydrangeas here at the park anymore and to have the original root from the same plant that was here 54 years ago was really extra meaningful.”

Metro Parks welcomed back the prodigal plants. The nikko blue hydrangeas are now in the sunken gardens, just north of Lake Watauga.

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