August 31, 2011

Helicopter Gardener

I feel like I spend a lot of time apologizing on this blog. As in, “Oops, I guess that project is going to take a lot longer than I thought—sorry!” So, what’s up with me and mine lately? You guessed it. Still working on the paint project. Due to a wee mix-up with the paint (uh, namely painting everything in primer AGAIN by accident and having to go back over it) we’re a little behind schedule. And I would say that it should be done by tomorrow, but I think I’m going to make it a point not to, just to see if that helps it get done faster (here’s hoping!).
However, I’ll suffer blogger’s guilt if I don’t post something today, so here’s a truly pathetic little introduction to my collection of houseplants (yes, I am that short on material right now).

I’ve always loved the idea of houseplants. Whenever I walk into someone’s home and see their lush green leaves and pretty little flowers peeking out from pots and planters, I always feel the urge to go to the nearest gardening store and pick out some for myself. However, I’ve long since learned that this urge is one that it’s usually best not to follow. You see, I don’t just have a black thumb, I have black arms clear up to the elbow. I have killed numerous African violets, a handful of adorable potted ivies, and more cacti than I care to mention (rest in peace Little Old Man, Jadis, Prickles, Elmer…and all of your unnamed but not forgotten friends).
However, I’ve recently decided (after reading a few smug articles online that claim “ANYONE can take care of a houseplant, it’s just so EASY”) to give it another try. It all started with a spiral bamboo that I picked up at Ikea. Well, I’m going to be honest, I didn’t so much pick it out for myself as buy it so Mom would quit pestering me about how pretty it was (sorry, Mom). Oddly though, it ended up being the hardiest plant I’ve ever had (and thanks, Mom!) and has thrived for two long years from its location in an old wine bottle on window between the kitchen and the living room. Window? There’s no window in your house, you say. Well, I say that it thrived there because it did…but once we moved to the new house it sadly went from this:

To this:

So sad. You see, I moved it to a spot where it ended up receiving too much sun and that resulted in all of its leaves turning pale yellow and drooping pathetically from the stalk. So, in an effort to save the main portion of the bamboo, I amputated its previously-lovely-emerald-green leaves. Neither one of us has recovered fully from the operation yet and (I’m gonna be honest) we’re both still a little shook up about the whole ordeal.
However, I am proud to say that I have managed to keep a grand total of five other plants alive and mostly-happy for several months now! Well, I’ve had one for several months anyway. The others have been around significantly shorter periods of time. Anyhow, here they are:

From the left side, working around from the back and towards the front again: Horton the croton, Lucky the bamboo, Basil…uh, the basil (very original, I know—but he was a present from Julie and I’ve only had him for about a week, I just need more time to think of something nice!), Buddha the pine, Spongebob the pineapple tillandsia, and Spidey the alien-looking tillandsia (I don’t know the real name, sorry).
These are the houseplants that have escaped being murdered by me, but only because I watch them like a hawk and am constantly prodding the soil in their pots to test for dampness. Thus my lame-o title, “Helicopter Gardener.” You know? Like a helicopter parent? You know? Ugh! Never mind. I know it was lame.
Anyhow, since I’ve become an obsessive houseplant caretaker, I’ve noticed that weird thoughts will pop into my brain, like: Gosh, I hope that powdered cinnamon clears up poor Buddha’s mold problem, and I wish I could get them all on the same schedule. For watering. That’s how bad it’s gotten. I actually said that one out loud and Denny checked my forehead to make sure I wasn’t running a temperature. Because surely a normal person wouldn’t talk about her houseplants as if they were children that needed to be kept on a strict feeding and napping schedule (oh, God! I haven’t been giving them naps! What a terrible parent…er, gardener, I am!). Is it possible to turn into a crazy plant lady? Kind of like a crazy cat lady, only instead of a dozen mewing felines swarming around my slipper-encased feet, I’ll not be able to see out my windows for the plants blocking them, walking around with pellets of plant food in my pocket, visiting each one? I can just see it now…Here, planty, planty, planty…Mummy has a treatsy for you!
Ugh. I have a feeling I should have stuck to my black arms instead of attempting to grow some green thumbs. The effort seems to have unhinged me slightly…Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some watering to do.
PS: Denny thinks Basil smells like old lettuce. He has removed him from the kitchen to the garage. I am, needless to say, deeply offended. I am also in a state of near panic as to where to put him now. Blarg. -A


  1. You go IMMEDIATELY and get poor, I mean Basil, from the garage! Old lettuce! What's he doing sniffing at him anyway?? What would his mother say?

  2. @Kaydeemcdee - It was actually kind of funny, because he kept smelling something that he thought stunk. "It smells like garbage in the corner!" he kept saying. I would go over there and have a sniff and of course all I smelled was paint and basil, so I was unconcerned. Finally he went over, stuck his face in the basil and concluded that IT was the garbage smell. Weirdo. He had it out in the garage in three seconds flat. Our conversation went a little something like this:

    Me: You're being silly! Everyone likes the smell of basil!
    Him: No, it smells like old lettuce. Garbage lettuce!
    Me: NO, it smells like BASIL.
    Him: Oh, well when you put it like that...BASIL STINKS.

    Le sigh.