Monday, May 24, 2010

Newspaper column: My very own miracle grow

Right around this time every year, I like to pretend I can garden. But if I’m being honest, it’s more like making a trip to a garden center and filling up a cart with things I’ll never use.

Let’s just say I have an extensive seed collection.

When we bought our house four years ago, I was delighted to see a small portion of the back yard had been designated for a garden. It seemed like the perfect new hobby for a first-time homeowner.

I envisioned growing watermelon-sized zucchini, the ripest tomatoes anyone had ever seen, peppers, garlic, squash — and anything else I could cram in there. Every meal during the summer months would be accompanied by something fresh off the vine.

Instead, I have a hearty crop of weeds and a beautiful lamb’s ear plant that thrives despite being neglected.

I’m just not good with plants. Unfortunately for them, I really love the idea of bringing the outdoors in and have a few in every room.

Only the heartiest survive.

I’m constantly reminded about my ineptitude in the botany department when I visit my parent’s house. Years ago, I purchased two small identical potted plants and gave one to my mom. Hers has quadrupled in size and is now waist-high. Mine leans severely to the right and has a few more leaves than when I bought it.

But I suppose I should consider its relative longevity a major feat in itself.

The latest example of my black thumb is even more embarrassing. I strongly hinted that I would like a hanging basket for Mother’s Day and was thrilled to get a massive specimen with gorgeous purple flowers. The leaves were so hearty and green that they appeared waxy.

I immediately hung it on the back porch and often found myself admiring it when I passed a nearby window or walked outside.

But the love affair was short-lived.

Within a week, the leaves were wilted against the basket and the mass scattering of dead petals on the porch railing looked like a crime scene.

I was at a loss. It had been raining for days, so I assumed it didn’t need water. It was getting plenty of sun. The only reasonable explanation I could come up with was that perhaps it had gotten too cold at night, providing a swift and fatal blow.

So I instantly wrote it off and chalked it up to another unfortunate plant casualty. But I figured I’d give it a few days before I put it out for the garbage collectors to enjoy.

You know, just in case.

Then the most bizarre thing happened. A few days later, it looked rejuvenated. The leaves appeared healthy and the flowers were blooming again.

When my husband came home later that afternoon, I happily pointed out the miracle.

“Yeah, I watered it,” he said, laughing. “You have to do that from time to time.”

Oh. Right. I guess it might not have gotten all the rain I thought it had being under the porch and all.

I don’t think he knew it at the time, but by saving my plant, he has now assumed full responsibility for its livelihood.

And I think I might hand him that huge collection of seeds I’ve been amassing, too. Maybe we’ll have homemade zucchini casserole this summer after all.


The Plainsman said...

LOL, a fun read with memorable phrases, too, including the "black thumb" and the likening of your back porch to a crime scene.

blueskitten said...

If it's a fuschia you have (really pretty trailing flowers the look great spilling over the side of a basket), then it likes shade and plenty of water. When it gets really hot my fuschias need water every day.

Ray said...

“Yeah, I watered it,” he said, laughing. “You have to do that from time to time.”


You CAN have a wonderful garden like the one you dream of. You just have to give yourself a reminder to water them. Maybe put it on your cellphone to give yourself a reminder: "Don't forget to water plants!" My aunt does that all the time, so she won't forget anything.

Just a thought.

Kristin said...

leave it to Jerry xP

Sarah said...

i saw this today and thought of you!! you should get it :)

Anonymous said...

I miss your posts! I've been reading since the good old Xanga days.

Anonymous said...

I miss your frequent updates! But I hope you are doing well. :)

Kristin said...

I miss your blogs :(
I hope your business is doing well, though, as well as Allison and Jerry(: