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.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Free desktop picture and Allison hilarity

Thought some of you would enjoy this on the photo blog.

I'm working on Allison's back-logged letters now. Hoping to have them up this week.