I had a problem with a marauding mammal in my garden that was damaging my peonies, so I decided to simply cut all the flowers and offer them at the end of the driveway to my neighbors and passers-by for free.
What marauding mammal could be worse than the raccoons that have occasionally wreaked havoc in my back garden? Deer? A bear?
It was a human.
I've had this problem every year, for the past 3 years, ever since I put peonies in the front bed near the street. Every year when they bloom, someone starts stealing them, ripping the stems. I let this entitlement go, mostly (whoever it is, they also take Dahlias in the fall), but this year they actually tore a support cage out of the ground and left it at the side of the road.
So I decided to take agency of the problem -- I cut all the flowers at once and gave them away. I considered cutting them and putting them in a vase to be displayed prominently in a front window, visible from the street, but I thought that kind of taunting might herald the beginning of a fight I didn't want and probably wouldn't win.
As I was outside later, watering pots, my neighbor across the street called to me, "The flowers are beautiful! I'm only going to take a couple."
"Take as many as you want! Take a bunch!"
"The garden looks wonderful!"
They were all gone by 9:00 the next morning. Whoever has been taking them may have taken some of the free ones I offered, but I don't care about that. I offered them, and I cut them.
And now I won't see any more broken stems.