Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Black Thumb

Seriously. Ever heard of a guy called King Midas? I am his gardening equivalent. Except instead of gold, everything that I touch turns to dead.

Let me explain:

When I was a young bride, my husband informed me that he wanted a garden. He had grown up with one and spent time each summer canning the fruits of the collective family labor. I, on the other hand, took on the task of killing Mom's Mother's Day plant each year. In short, I have a bad track-record with plants.

I wasn't thrilled with the idea, as gardening with my mom during my teenage years only proved to me that I was allergic to any and all things organic and that I have the Super-Human ability to kill anything that manages to grow under my care. But, young and dumb, though I was and agreed to give a a go. Or two. Or three.

We started with a houseplant that we got on sale at Target with a leftover wedding gift card. His name was Walter. Long story, but every plant deserves a name. Walter was foolproof. I could not kill him. Or so I thought. After some over watering and under watering, I turned the botanical reins over to my sister-in-law, and when we moved, we left him on the doorstep of some green-thumbed friends.

Zoom ahead about 2 years.

While living in Pocatello, Idaho, we lived in an apartment with a window box. We were told that we would be allowed to grow anything that we wanted, short of illegal substances, in our boxes. Being a young Mom, I decided that it was time to teach my two-year-old the value of work. Flowers would be a welcome addition to my drab kitchen and so, in the spring, I did it all right. I bought the little planter things that you get them to seed in, indoors. I watered only according to package directions. I began to see something grow. They were beautiful and more knowledgeable than I. I opened the blinds one morning to give my little sprouts some sun, and a little water. As I turned my back on the plants, they committed suicide. I kid you not. Though they were stable, perched on my extra-wide window sill, they plunged to their deaths on my tiled kitchen floor. Though they did not leave a note, I heard them loud and clear; You should not be doing this.

Come with me again, ahead nearly four years. My yard is equipped with Astro Turf. Long, luxurious Astro Turf, mind you, but still, unkillable Astro Turf. Last summer I managed to kill one of the three "tolerant" bushes planted in our patio planters, and I am scared to death to prune my dwarf lemon tree. Really, just waiting for it to die.

Why, then, did I think that planting more flowers would be a good idea? My logic eludes even me.

Something was growing here...

Then this happened...
Something appears to be growing here:

Oh wait, too many somethings.

Mold. Despite the greenhouse-esque effect of my bathroom with it's large garden tub and brilliant late afternoon sun through the 4 x 4 glass-block window. Apparently it's the wrong kind of "Perfect Storm".

Really, how many plants must die before I am put to a stop?

I hereby throw in my gardening tools, will, and delusions. I guess this is why they invented silks. Someday I intend to have wonderful, beautiful grounds and a landscaper to match. Someone must save them from a fate worse than death.

In the meantime, anyone need some slightly-used planters?


  1. I can completely relate. I can't even keep a cactus alive. Believe me, I've tried. Ironically, I was a horticulture major at BYU-I, and got a job as the manager of the greenhouses. I was responsible for tending to all the plants, including the ones that would go out in the gardens. Apparently, just the plants in my own house lack the will to live.

  2. I'm going with genetics. It's in the genes. We can blame mom, and then add it to the list of things to work through in therapy some day!

  3. --- they say one in three women has a slight problem with peeing her pants. (The commercials say it better/less grossly than that but you know what I'm saying). I'll have you know that this "one in three woman" only has this problem when reading your posts. I laugh way too hard. Well done, yet again.

  4. Has anyone ever told you that you should write a book. You are so witty and funny. You are my favorite author........sorry about your plants. I have a Filadendrum (sp?) Those plants can live in water so you cant over water them. I just water them everytime they start to droop. It is the only plant I have been able to keep alive.

  5. Hahaha! Oh friend, you are funny!
    That's all I have to say!

  6. Curtis gets on here and reads your posts. He thinks you are flipping halarious. So do I :) XOOxoxoxOX

  7. I love it! I also killed a house plant, I have to switch the flowers in my planters every 2 weeks, and I just killed a chia plant (and they are fool-proof). Lucky for me, my garden is managed by someone with more skill than myself, and he would email me every so often with advice or to let me know there was a problem. He also watered it for us. :) It was lovely.