Monday, November 28, 2016

Committing Planticide

I’ve written before about my Black Thumb of Doom where outdoor greenery is concerned, and that hasn’t improved a bit over the years. The last survivor of our house’s former owners’ once-gorgeous garden, a large peony bush, blooms less and less each spring, dying slowly and dramatically, like Mimi of opera fame. Once in a while some tulips or daffodils will spring up in the front yard. No memory of when we planted them, and the flowers look a bit dazed, as if wondering why they are there as well.

But indoors, I used to have a modicum of good luck. When we lived in an apartment in Mt. Airy, our large living room got lots of sun. There was a big window with a capacious window seat, perfect for potted plants. I recall jade trees and spathiphyllum growing beautifully there with minimal effort—ditto kitchen treasures like basil and parsley. We co-existed with our plants happily for four years, and dared to hope that we could succeed elsewhere.

Those hopes were dashed at every residence we have inhabited from then on. Oh yeah, sometimes it was lack of sunshine, but more often it was flat-out neglect that killed every plant we purchased, especially after the children started arriving. Who had time to baby an African violet when there was a real human baby screaming for attention? Not us! So gradually we stopped getting new foliage for the house, and while we missed the special look of real plants and flowers, we didn’t miss it enough.

Our new addition! Polly Pothos!

Several years ago, we decided to try again. We bought two pothos plants (known for tolerating low light and little water). Ever since, we have a routine: buy the pothos, watch them die over the course of a year, replace the pothos, start cycle over again. It reminds me of Bob and Sally, the children’s goldfish. It was always the same: the kids were enchanted with their shimmery pets, then the fish were overfed or something, and within days went belly up. To forestall the outpouring of grief, we would flush the dead fish and rush to the pet store while the little guys were at preschool. When they came home, presto! Bob and Sally were alive again!  We probably dropped a hundred bucks on this charade before we gave up. I don’t even want to add up the cost of our annual pothos binge. 

As I write this, I view the two sad bamboo plants that have stuck it out four years, since they were purchased for Sher and Ya-Jhu’s wedding reception. Bamboo is said to herald good fortune, and we have been blessed indeed, so we hold onto the browning, wilted stalks, just in case. I tip my hat to you, indoor gardeners; I guess we’ll never know your secret for success. We’ll have to just muddle along, doing our best. Miracles can happen, and maybe one will happen here. Come on, little plants! You can do it! Live, darn you! Live!!

Our sad bamboo!

No comments:

Post a Comment