Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Black Thumbs Anonymous

I kill plants.  I don't mean to; but I do.  

I began to realize that there was a problem when, feeling domestic in the first year of marriage, I decided to have some potted plants in our home.  There were four of them; and one by one they all died.  As I mourned the loss, my mother explained to me that I had put them in a place where they were probably not getting enough sunlight.  Okay, just some more sunlight; that's all I needed to work on.  I waited a few years to try my hand at it again as I busied myself growing children instead of plants.  Then I gave another shot at raising houseplants... with plenty of sunlight, mind you.  My next couple of attempts were dead within two weeks.  

Discouragement didn't keep me from trying to add a bit of beauty to my outside entry last summer.  The bare cement looked so drab; so I went and got a fool-proof, ready-to-go pot of flowers.  I was confident since this time the plants were outdoors. Of course it would work! Not. I launched myself into cycle of buying and killing potted flowers. It got to the point that I thought I heard little plant voices in the flower nursery calling out, "Not me!  Don't pick me!"

I bought things with names like "Hardy Mums" that my mother told me were impossible to kill. I did the impossible.  By the end of the summer I was put on plant probation by my husband whose wallet was feeling the effects of my black thumb.

Now you must understand, things should not be this way.  My mother and my grandmother have lovely green thumbs.  These ladies have raised everything from corn to strawberries to lettuce to tulips. And yet I am left wondering why, since I didn't get to inherit my parent's slender thighs, I couldn't have at least inherited the green thumb!

As my mother walked into my home one day last fall, she announced that enough was enough. She was going to help me plant a garden in the spring.  And after much coaxing, my husband finally agreed to give me one last chance.  So last week, Mom and I spent all day digging up grass and planting a garden with azalea and hydrangea bushes.  It looks gorgeous, and I'm desperate to keep it alive.  I have been carefully doing everything Mom instructed me.  Only time will tell the end of my sad plant tale.  I'm hoping for a fairytale ending. Maybe potted plants weren't my thing, maybe I was meant to have a flower garden, maybe....


  1. I believe colored thumbs are inherited from the father. I have killed many a plant. We once had a Wandering Jew (which we appropriately named "Paul") that I would somehow knock off it's stand regularly. Paul would cower whenever I approached. Many of Mom's outdoor plants looked like weeds to me, so I would either mow them over or pull them up. No matter how many times Mom would point to a plant and say to me, "Good plant. Good plant. No kill!", I would forget and commit horrible herbicide.
    So, my dear, do not fret that you are an abberation: I say embrace your genes. A rose by any other name will someday die anyway.

  2. Do not worry I have killed every house plant I have ever owned. But last summer I planted a veggie garden and it did pretty well not perfect but pretty well.


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