Friday, June 21, 2013

My Mysterious Green Thumb

The cyclamen
I have these cyclamen in my kitchen window.  The only reason I know they are cyclamen is because I posted a picture of them on Facebook and people told me so.  These people also told me that cyclamen are very difficult to grow, which astounds me because I have a hopelessly black thumb and yet I've been able to keep this plant alive and thriving for three and a half years now.

Well, thriving until this week.  I came home from our trip to find them pretty droopy.  Late for one watering and look what happens. 

My orchid still looks good.  That's the other flower my friends tell me is almost impossible to keep going, and yet mine blooms and blooms despite me.  I really don't get it.  I've killed every houseplant I've ever owned.  I'm telling you -- my thumb is hopelessly black.  I have no idea what I'm doing. 

I bought a couple of flowering plants to put on the front porch to make it look a little more colorful while we're showing the house.  (Notice I said "flowering plants" because I have no idea what kind of plant they are.  I suppose it was on the tag somewhere.)  When I went to pay for them, I told the Lowe's lady what I intended to do with them and asked if that was a good idea.  She nodded, rather noncommittal about it all.  I asked for some tips about how to care for the plants -- specifically, how much water do they need?  She muttered something about giving them a good drink when they feel dry.

And I think this is why I kill plants.  "A good drink" when they "feel dry".  How dry?  How often do I check if they're dry?  Twice a week?  Twice a day?  How much is a good drink?  Until the dirt is soaked?  Soaked on the surface, or soaked to the bottom?  What do I do, stick my finger in the dirt and feel how wet it is?  These directions are simply not helpful in the least.  (And these poor things will be lucky to make it through the fourth of July, I think.)

The orchid
Apparently, people with green thumbs are like cooks -- I mean, natural cooks, those people who throw a bit of this and that into a pot and something amazing comes out.  I, on the other hand, am a baker.  I need a specific recipe with specific measurements for specific ingredients.  I can't feel my way through a dish for the family to eat . . . and I can't keep a living green thing green that way either.

One of the houses we're looking at in San Antonio we have dubbed the "garden house".  That's because it has an enclosed courtyard in the front with a fountain and trees and plants all around it.  It's beautiful -- an oasis -- and if we buy the house, I will have to hire a professional to come take care of it all.

In the meantime, I'm afraid I'll have to give up my cyclamen and orchid to a neighbor when we move.  (And the amaryllis that blooms something gorgeous every several months or so.)  I doubt they'll survive the drive to Texas, and I don't know if they'll thrive in a different environment. 

You think I'll ever again have a live houseplant that survives as well as these have?  I don't.  Oh, well!  It was fun while it lasted.

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