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All my pretty flowers are growing, growing … gone

All my pretty flowers are growing, growing … gone

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2009 8:01 pm
By: By CHRIS MENEES, Messenger Staff Reporter

Ah, summer.
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming.
Well, two out of three’s not bad. I’ve got sunshine and I’ve got feathered friends, but the flower part — that’s debatable.
I’m agriculturally-challenged.
This isn’t some new discovery on my part. I’ve never been accused of having a green thumb or any other body part. Dozens of plants and flowers have withered under my watch over the years.
It’s safe to say that the Japanese Beetles invading the county this summer would starve in my yard. I’ve killed their lunch plans.
My entire family knows my track record. They know better than to ask me to water anything while they’re on vacation and they know something silk or artificial is a less painful choice for me.
The other day, the oldest granddaughter remarked that she’d like to get a plant and I timidly asked, “At my house?” She looked startled and replied, “Oh, no, it’ll just die there.”
Sad, but true.
There was a glimmer of hope last year when that same granddaughter presented my husband and me with a seed she’d planted in a tiny hand-painted clay pot. I kept vigil over the pot and watered it faithfully for days, watching the seedling sprout into the most beautiful little plant I’d seen in a long time. When we were going to be out of town several days, I even took the pot with me and cared for it while traveling.
When we returned home, the plant promptly shriveled and died, right on cue.
Fortunately for me, the previous owner of our home took great pride in filling several flower beds with lovely plants that beautifully surround the many trees and bushes in our front yard. And, fortunately, they’re very hearty varieties of perennials — which means they come back year after year no matter how much I abuse or ignore them.
My only responsibility is an occasional afternoon of picking weeds — which, unfortunately, I have no trouble growing.
My husband, funny man that he is, honestly expressed concern the other day while wondering if the industrial-strength weed killer he’d used on our ditch was going to be effective.
“Are you kidding? It’s not killing things that’s the problem. It’s keeping them alive,” I said.
Every year, when seed catalogs arrive in the mail (how did I even get on their mailing lists?) and local greenhouses put out plants, I’m filled with an overwhelming desire to break ground and release my inner farmer. I’m determined not to be intimidated by my next-door neighbors, one of whom grows gorgeous plants and both of whom have gargantuan gardens — from which they graciously share the bounty with this non-gardener.
Then I look at that pitiful little empty pot on the window sill and decide store-bought frozen vegetables aren’t so bad after all. Besides, somebody has to buy fruits and veggies from those vendors who set up shop roadside every summer. I’m glad they can reap the benefits of my failure.
Don’t count me out just yet, though.
I’ve found new hope — with those handy-dandy roll-out seed mats like you see advertised on late-night infomercials. I got excited just reading about my “garden in a box” and how I simply had to roll it out, water it and wait for my garden to grow.
Somewhat embarrassed, I waited until dusk one night several weeks ago and discreetly rolled out my seed mats along the front sidewalk, hoping no one was watching. There was rain in the forecast, so I didn’t even bother with watering (which, of course, could explain my past failed attempts to grow things).
Then I did what comes natural to someone who’s agriculturally-challenged. I forgot about them.
But hope — and a marigold or two — springs eternal.
My maintenance-free marigolds bloomed last week in what I consider nothing short of miraculous. The two minuscule orange-colored blooms transformed me from a failure to a success virtually overnight. Master Gardeners, here I come.
Upon discovering my “garden,” I ran inside and excitedly told my husband to grab his camera and follow me outside, knowing he’d be impressed with my newfound flower power. He stepped out, looked around and, trying to conceal a grin, said, “Where are they?”
“There,” I said, pointing to the two tiny blossoms that were barely visible as they strained to open.
Not surprising, the oldest granddaughter had the same reaction. It’s painfully obvious they don’t appreciate my gardening prowess.
Still, I’m basking in the glory of a miniature marigold crop that is actually living.
At least for today.
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Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.10.09

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