Flowers in the Attic Isn’t a Gardening Manual?


I just went outside to discover I’ve done it again. I figured on an 80-degree day our plants would appreciate some water . . . especially after a three-day owner-imposed drought. After nearly taking out the patio chairs with the hose, I saw that Sally’s sunflower is gone. It’s possible something ate the little sprout but more likely the babe, alone in the wild, fried to a crisp in the sun, disintegrated and blew away in a gust of wind.

I kill plants. And I actually feel a lot of remorse when I do. They just sit there, relying on me to keep them alive, and I fail over and over again. My college roommate and I had a plant. I don’t know what kind. It was green and had leaves, if that helps. One day I put it on the ledge of our third-floor room after a watering. When we returned from class, it was 30 feet below us, shattered pot and all. My roommate insisted I murdered it. I maintain that it jumped. Still, I’m sure it jumped because that seemed like a better option than living with me. The same roommate recently gave me her lucky bamboo plant when she moved across the country (10 years and a baby will make you forget old wounds). She’d had it for something like five years. It’s dead now. She’s finding out about that on this blog. Sorry.

There’s a mile long list of stories like these. My worst gardening moment, however, is the mass grave of California Golden Poppies in the backyard. Our state flower happens to be Sally’s favorite, so I suggested we plant some seeds and watch them grow. For two weeks I diligently watered the area until tiny green shoots started coming up. I’d done it! I’d produced life! But my pride was short-lived. Who was I kidding? I’m like the evil dictator of flora–I let plants starve until they’re at the brink of death, then (because our homeowner’s association frightens me) I feed them and they praise me as their savior, throwing parties and erecting garden statues in my honor. But those are established plants who remember the good old days when previous homeowners ruled their land and who dream of a time when I might be kicked out. My yard is no place for naïve seedlings.

So the poppies are dead, of course. Sally still checks them from time to time. I’m sure she’ll keep checking the sunflower. Maybe I’ll replace it in the dead of night. Or maybe not. She checks but she never seems to be terribly bothered that progress isn’t being made. She may have my green thumb, or maybe she just already knows parents are really bad at some stuff, so she’s cutting me some slack. Either way, I’m thinking her first vegetable garden should be a Daddy and daughter project.

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5 responses to “Flowers in the Attic Isn’t a Gardening Manual?

  1. Hopefully my brother has better luck than I keeping plants alive. Maybe he inherited my parents’ greenthumb because I did not!

    By the way, pray for my new habenero plant!

  2. mybeatingheart

    I have a similar problem. I overwater flowers until they are all dead! I always forget that in a climate that is rainy in the summer there is no need to water as much as there was in Modesto.
    Oh well. You are not alone in your plant guilt!
    Danica

  3. What?! The lucky bamboo is dead?! Geez, I think it’s pretty hard to kill a little bamboo plant… 🙂

    • I know, I feel bad. I kept it, dead, in a vase for a while. I think I hoped it wasn’t really dead. But eventually I gave up. No good luck for me. And you are right, bamboo is a freaking weed. It should be Embee proof!

  4. Hey old (in the nicest possible way) friend! Ran across your blog link on facebook. I just want to tell you that Ms. Kimble would be so proud of your writing skills (remember when she told us right before our AP test that we were all a major disappointment to her? Sweet pep talk).
    Hope you are well and your little girl sounds like quite the ham. 😉
    P.S. I kill plants too. You’re not alone!

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