Sunday, March 29, 2009

Green Thumb in training...

I don't have a good track record when it comes to gardening. It would be fair to say that I am the angel of death to all things with roots and leaves. Some subconscious part of my being must take some sort of joy in decimating those poor oxygen exhalers, because I am just not capable, no matter how hard I think I'm trying, of keeping plants alive.

So I figured here in LA, I'd have my best bet I'd actually helping a plant live beyond a few days. It is sunny 98% of the time, all lawns have built-in sprinkler systems, and houses come equipped with like 6 hose hook-ups. It is a gardening paradise. I couldn't possibly mess it up. Right? Right?!

Well, we'll see. I did manage to salvage two plants out of a house-warming planter my mother-in-law sent to us when we moved to LA. Sure, 3-4 of the plants kicked it, but they didn't have a chance. I had re-potted them and set them out in the backyard, exposing them to that 98% sunlight (and have I mentioned that the sun here feels like it is resting on the top of your head? I'm not entirely convinced that we don't hover suspiciously close to the surface of the sun here during the summer months). When my mother arrived for her first visit here, she informed me that those plants? The ones "basking" in the blazing full sunlight of a Southern California summer? Yeah, they were what you call "house plants" (hence, sent to us as a "house-warming" gift). So the whole baking in the sun thing? NOT their thing.

Three of them made the transition into the house nicely and have grown slowly but steadily for the past several months. One is barely hanging on, but I can't bring myself to throw it away. So it sits next to the other two, I imagine, groaning in agony in some inaudible to humans plan language---the Debbie Downer of the three plants. It probably wishes I'd put it out of it's misery, but I can't. I prune it back, picking off the dead leaves (read: all the leaves) and hope it will spring back to life.

This week, I decided to take a leap back into the big scary world of outdoor gardening by taking Ethan to Target to buy some snapdragons, purple cabbages, pots and Miracle-Gro. I have a soft spot for snapdragons because when I was a little girl, walking to the store with my grandmother, she's stop by a patch of them and show me how they "talked". She'd lightly pinch the sides of the flower and it's "mouth" would snap open, like a mouth saying, "hi." She'd repeat the movement over and over, talk out of the side of her own mouth, and VOILA!---flower talking to amazed little girl. Seriously happy childhood memory. So I always want a snapdragon or two in my life.

Ethan and I set up shop in the front yard, complete w/ shovels, watering cans, hose, pots, flowers, etc. I had planned on putting two of my snapdragons into one big pot, but found it was too small, so I moved one of the plants to the middle. I love playing in the dirt, but I am so bad at getting the plants in at the right depths and with the right amount of soil. So now I need to go back to Target (question of the day--can I get through one entry without mentioning Target? I'm guessing the answer is "no"), and pick up some more pots so my yellow snapdragons don't die. I thought I could just dig up some dirt and throw the purple cabbages into the ground, but it turns out the ground's really, really hard. Ugh. I suck. More Target pots needed, please.

So I don't know just how long any of this stuff is going to live. But at least they are immortalized in these pictures....

Green Thumb McGhee, reporting for duty.




This is as dirty as he got. How is he my kid???!!!!

Getting just the right amount of soil into the pot...or, covering the blooms completely on that side of the pot. Not sure which.

Drowning, I mean, watering the plants...

4 comments:

Becca said...

So pretty! We just started ripping out everything in our front planter because it was totally out of control. I'm looking forward to planting some pretty flowers instead. Snapdragons maybe?

cicadalady said...

love the houseplants story. we once got a plant in an attempt to have some greenery in our home and it died. then toby saw someone at his office at AOL with the same plant. he said, "we used to have a plant like that". the guy goes, "oh, the best thing about these plants is you absolutely can't kill them." oops.

gringa said...

A born gardener. The flowers look wonderful and so does the gardener. Good luck with this round.

Bonnie said...

So fun- I love gardening with my kids. Container gardening is a great direction. You might also see if there are any Master Gardener public seminars in the area to acclimate you to what does well locally.