A Green Thumb Gone Bad

Every year around this time I find myself inspired to grow something. I spend at least three weekends at the nursery trying to decide which flowers to put where and what my color scheme should be. I get ahead of myself, buying potting soil and containers, and I imagine what it would be like to have a real garden in a real backyard someday. Now I actually have a backyard, and I still feel that itch. But I’m doing something I don’t normally do: I am ignoring it to the utmost extent.

Because, you see, every year I invest not just my time and money but myself in growing things and having pretty flowers. But every year my efforts are thwarted by something.

In Memphis, it was the neighbors upstairs who thought it would be a good idea to dump their bleachy mop water from the balcony on the third floor. In doing so they effectively killed the flowers I had growing in the hanging boxes on my railing. One morning they were bright flowers bobbing in the wind; the next morning they were dried shrivelled twigs. I brought them back once or twice, but there’s only so many times you can defy bleach, especially if you’re a petunia.

Now we live in a desert, an environment conducive to growing nothing but succulents. Well, almost nothing; the rattle snakes seem to do pretty well here too. Last year I made the attempt. I bought my annual tomato plant and my flowers and potting soil. I bought fertilizer and gloves. I even made an attempt at growing beans from seeds. I wish I could say that my efforts amounted to a hill of beans, but that would be entirely too generous a way of putting it. In all honesty my efforts amounted to nothing but sunburn, sore muscles, and an outrageous water bill. The flowers died. The vegetables never had a chance. I found myself watering three times a day, and even that wasn’t enough. When the first great wind storm blew through, the whole enterprise seemed to blow through with it. Again, I made the attempt to bring the flowers back; I even replaced them once. Ok, twice. But each time I was a little more disappointed than the last.

This year I can’t handle it. I can’t stand the thought of having my botanical efforts mocked by Mother Nature and everything else. Maybe someday I’ll become the gardener I have attempted to be. I will have flower beds instead of flower pots, and my biggest concern will be making sure there are no lizards hiding under the leaves of the Lamb’s Ear. For now I will have to appease my green thumb by buying flowers at the grocery store. In my experience, they last longer, and they thrive in almost any indoor environment.


One Comment on “A Green Thumb Gone Bad”

  1. Anthony says:

    This is by far my favorite post of yours so far. The folks dumping bleach is one of the most ludicrous things I've ever heard in my life. I mean, 1: this isn't ancient Rome, with aquaducts, or whatever, and people throw their accumulated bodily waste willy-nilly from windows. 2: throwing BLEACH out of a window sounds pretty freaking hazardous, whether or not you're a petunia!

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