Once More with Feeling

I’ve tried, I really have. Done my best, followed all the rules, done what everyone do and while they manage to nourish life and growth, I bring death and destruction. I confess.

I have committed serial herbicide.

It wasn’t supposed to happen – I don’t mean to. Every time I get a new plant, I pay attention to the instructions, google some more and follow them carefully. But sometimes, I get distracted and forget to water when I should or do when I shouldn’t and before I know it, the leaves start turning funny colours and the whole thing droops, drop bits and… is gone. Happens even when I don’t forget or have one in my house, beuing cared for by others. The conclusion is inevitable: I have a black thumb. My damn aura is a black thumb.

Once, I got a pot with babytears at the exact same time as AB and did exactly what she did every day and after 2 weeks, hers was flourishing, overgrowing and mine was a collection of black tendrils in a bit of soil. She may still have the descendants of hers, while I have killed more plants than I care to remember since those days, almost 30 years ago. I mean, I've even killed cacti!

There are a few odd exceptions to the rule. I got a ficus benjamina as a house warming present when I moved into my apartment 13 years ago - at the time, it was a modest little thing, about the height of a six-year-old. Now? Now it looks like this (please ignore the mess)

I suspect it's mainly because I don't touch it. I don't even speak to it. Susan, who does my housekeeping, waters it once a week, one of the other attendants turns it twice a year and occasionally, people will pick off yellow leaves (which it develops with precision every October) and in the spring, I get someone to cut off the dead branches resulting from the leaves that fall off over the winter. And somehow, despite this kind of plant being notoriously 'nervous' and difficult to cultivate, it's taken over my living room. As well, I have a money tree on my bathroom counter consisting of three no-longer-braided branches that's almost reached the ceiling (now if only my bank account reflected this growth) and again, I suspect it's mostly because aside from watering it when it looks dry, I pretend it isn't there. But these are my only success stories of the last 13 years (okay, of my life), which is annoying because I'd prefer to have the house thronged with plans. But I've learned my lesson, no longer wish to inflict pain and suffering on various greenery and just don't buy plants anymore, because it just seems cruel and inhumane.

This past Saturday, I went to a tiny local craft fair in which a woman, who’s a horticulturalist, had set up a table with a number of plants for sale. I explained my 7redicament and in exchange for $7, she let me adopt this

This is a Chinese evergreen. This "thrives on neglect". We are a match made in heaven.

I''ll let you know if it's still alive in the new year.


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