LEWISTON – Roger and Lorraine Baril are perplexed. For years, the flowers surrounding their Montello Street home have dazzled neighbors and strangers alike. Last year, the couple won a city award for the most colorfully decorated home. The flower display is known across the region.

Sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, somebody drove through the flowers with a car or truck. A long row of tulips and daffodils were mowed to the ground.

“To destroy something beautiful for no reason, it’s just too bad,” said Roger Baril.

At 76 years old, he has been planting around his home for seven or eight years. He started with just a row or two at the edges of his lawn.

“He just kept planting and it kept getting wider and wider,” said Lorraine.

Now, the flowers line both sides of the Montello Street home as well as a long stretch of lawn at the front. Flowers are everywhere at the Baril house.

Popular garden

This time of year, the tulips and daffodils are in full bloom. The colors surrounding the home are bright. By mid-summer, other flowers will also be popping up, some of them standing 6 feet tall.

“A lot of people who live around here do a lot of walking,” Roger said. “They all tell us how pretty it is.”

“People from as far away as Greene tell us they drive by here just to see the place,” Lorraine added. “It’s heartbreaking to have something like this happen.”

One time a few years ago, a woman stopped and asked the couple if she could take pictures of the flowers. She wanted to show her mother, who loved flowers but who was bedridden.

Roger Baril went her one better. In addition to the pictures, the woman who stopped to admire the display went home with some fresh cut flowers for her ailing mother.

“She was very happy,” Roger said.

He was the first to notice the damage to the flowers at the edge of the front yard Thursday morning. He called police and then pulled out his gardening gloves. There was work to do.

Police on Thursday were not only investigating the incident, they were commiserating. A lieutenant who reviewed the report was instantly familiar with Baril’s gardening skills.

“He’s been doing this every year. It’s quite a thing,” said Lewiston police Lt. Tom Avery. “People put a lot of time and effort into their homes. They take great pains to beautify their property. When something like this happens, it’s disheartening.”

The Barils’ home is at the corner of Montello and College streets.

From an investigative perspective, it was hard for police to determine if the damage was the result of a driving mishap or vandalism. Investigators were hoping to determine whether or not the destruction was intentional.

“People tend to drive off the road for a variety of reasons. It may have been an accident or it may have been malicious,” Avery said. “We certainly encourage anyone who may have seen something to call us.”

The Barils tend to believe somebody went out of their way to intentionally damage the flowers. They don’t know why. It causes them both confusion and anguish. But Roger Baril said the incident will not slow him down. In fact, he spent 11 hours Thursday toiling among the flowers, making repairs and making things as right as possible.

“What the heck are you going to do?” he said. “I fixed it as much as I could. If I stop doing it, they would win. You can’t let that happen. I’m not going to let it bring me down.”

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