Thursday, May 14, 2009
Confessions of a Serial Plant Killer - by Michele Ashman Bell
I have a confession . . . I kill plants. I don't know if it's a curse or a defect, but I am horrible at growing things. I cringe when I receive a potted plant on Mother's Day or when I speak at a ward or community group and they give me a "thank you plant" because I know its fate. The minute the plant is placed in my hand . . . certain death! It doesn't matter how much I want to keep it alive, or how hard I try and be careful, I am as nurturing as a dementor when it comes to plant life. Do you know how easy it is to take care of bamboo? It literally requires no skill whatsoever and a minimal amount of water occasionally. Yea, I killed some. Cacti? It doesn't even require water. All dead. If it's supposed to be green, don't give it to me, it will magically turn to brown. Thank goodness my husband plants the garden. He worries every time he goes out of town for several days that he'll come back to a dead garden. We've never lost the whole thing, but many plants have met their demise this way.
I used to care that I was this way. I would fret and fuss and worry about keeping the hanging baskets of Impatiens and Petunias alive in my backyard. I'd poke little vitamin sticks into their soil and remember to water them. They still died. My poor husband calculates in his head how much money is wasted on buying flower baskets as he's toting them to the garbage.
There have been times that I've skipped the fretting and fussing stage and literally walked the plant straight to the garbage right after someone gave it to me. We know the end result, right? What's the use?
Also, you should know, I'm an equal-opportunity plant killer. From the tiniest sprout, to the largest stalk, I can kill it. Whether indoors or outdoors, it's as good as toast, if it is in my care.
I'm sure that everyone who has a green thumb, could tell me everything I'm doing wrong, but honestly people, I seriously have tried my darndest to grow stuff, and it just won't work.
Thank goodness for silk plants. In fact, one year, I had all of these beautiful geraniums in my window boxes in front of my old house. (This whole notion was a throwback to my mission in Germany and the beautiful windows boxes spilling over with color on every house and lamp post.) You guessed it, they all died. But clever me, I went to the store and bought flowers that looked just like the ones I'd planted and one evening when it was dark, I quickly replaced the almost dead blooms with the fake new ones. Ha! I've never received so many compliments on my flowers. You see, the trick isn't keeping real plants alive, it's being able to buy fake ones that look real. However, this does not work with vegetable plants. Plastic tomatoes do not taste the same as the real ones.
Just in case you were wondering, my children, so far, are all still alive. I guess this is really what's most important, right?
Next time . . . Confessions of a Non-Scrapbooker! Followed by Confession of a Non-Homemade-Bread-Baker.