Saturday, February 20, 2010

Green(ish) Thumb..

I can kill a plant like nobody's business. Really. In college, I killed the ficus (didn't everyone kill a ficus in college?) Violets? Not a chance. That sucker will never flower. Cactus? I'll drown it because it HAS to be thirsty at least once a week, right??? For years, I didn't even bother. Then, in Virginia, I did manage to keep one plant alive for about three years. A miracle! Until it got left under the tarps in the dining room when the contractors came in to remodel the kitchen. For two months.

When we moved to Los Angeles, my mother-in-law thoughtfully sent us a planter full of beautiful ivies and assorted other plants and I was so excited to have happy green plants in my new always-hot-and-sunny climate. I immediately repotted them into their own happy little pots, put them out in the backyard so they could soak in the California sun and the returned four days later, only to be horrified that all of my beautiful plants were burnt to a crisp. Because they were "low light/indoor" plants. And I left them in my always-gets-sun-at-everytime-of-the-day-except-night backyard. I am awesome. We're all very very lucky that Ethan's main form of nutrition isn't chlorophyll or he'd be in serious trouble having me for a mother.

Upon arriving in our new home in Northern California, my mother in law, either by design or happy accident, sent us another planter of the exact same plants she'd sent to Los Angeles. Having learned my lesson this time, I repotted them all in their own pots, kept them on shelves and mantlepieces INSIDE my house and away from the scathing glare of the sun and zOMG! They are ALL still alive! Plant killer no more, my friend!!! Green, leafy things are now officially safe in my presence!!!

So I decided to take my newly discovered green-ish thumbs outside. Our landlords lived in this house for a lot of years. They planted flowering trees and shrubs and planted flowers in pots and planters all around the back porch. They took a lot of time and care to make a beautiful yard (around the basketball court). When we first met with them, sitting in their living room, which would become our living room, Mrs. Landlady said, "we really love our plants. You'll take care of them, right?" To which I took a deep breath and knowing how much I wanted the house, said, "ABSOLUTELY!! I love plants!" Which is really kind of true. I DO love them. And if by "take care of" them she meant a sort of Mob-esque meaning of "kill them," then I was really being honest. Not lying at ALL. But clearly I knew that's not what she meant.

So fine. I kept four indoor plants alive AND grew one of those Amaryllis thingies over the past five months. I can surely handle the vegetation in the back yard, right??!

Amaryllis thingy, all alive and everything...

Earlier this week, Ethan and I headed to the back yard. Me with my nifty new gardening gloves, complete with little blue nubbies that are for I have no idea what.

See? Nubbies.
Our backyard has a lot of pavers in it (as you can see in the above picture if you can tear your eyes off of those sexy gloves). And we have a moss & weed issue with said pavers. They look a lot like this:

Yes, I realize I could go at these weeds with a spray bucket of RoundUp or something like that, but we did that in our driveway and now I just have a driveway of pavers that have dead, brown weeds stuck between them. So I got down into it and ripped the weeds up from in between the pavers all the way from one side of the back yard to the other.

Ethan was a big help, eating a lollipop and bringing me a little red wagon for collecting my weeds. Because after the pavers, I had to figure this out:

My friends, I have NO idea what any of that is. What is week? What is intentional? How to deal with the weird mulch they use that looks like an orangutan's fir? Oy.

So I essentially cleared the old leaves and then ripped out anything that looked like it was either dead, or just started growing. If it looked like it had been there since the landlord's planted it and it was still growing, it won the lottery and got to stay. At the end, my little red wagon looked like this:

Yes, I guess it actually is a little pink wagon. But it used to be red. Chalk it up to the same blazing sun that killed all my plants in Los Angeles. Brutal.

And what was Ethan doing while I was cultivating the beauty and contributing to the background eco-system?

One-man band-ing it up with his stick-drumstick and blue bucket drum ensemble..

....and taking a spin on the big wheel, while making loud driving noises and weird faces. So generally, super helpful.

I do have to say, though, that I love the fact that it's February and the flowers are blooming.

And the little garden cherub that the Mrs. Landlady left behind? I kind of dig him, too, even if he does creep me out just a little bit.

Dear Creepy Garden Cherub: Nice hair. It's a shame about that foot...

Also? Please don't come to life in the middle of the night and eat my family.


Becca said...

Fun! We need to do some prettying up in my back yard. I think pavers are the answer. For now it is very functional for two boys who want nothing but SPACE to RUN. But sometime? Pretty wouldn't be so bad.

gringa said...

Looking out at my still snow-filled front and back yards I can truly feel how wonderful it is to have flowers in February.

lonek8 said...

don't come to life and eat my family - ha!

I also am a black thumb - my planting expertise is to get some impatiens every spring, water them until they die (about a month) and throw them away thinking it's almost fall anyway (even if it's barely July, whatever). but our new yard is huge and bare - not a shrub in sight. So I'm thinking I would like to try some flowers and stuff this year. and I'm kind of excited about it really - although I'm sure my enthusiasm will have waned by the time we are finally free of all this cursed snow.

Corinne said...

All I can think of is how in Julie & Julia they did a parody of that Psycho killer song (Lobster Killer...) and now I'm singing 'Plant Killer...' ha!
But those plants look beautiful, especially from here where all I see is snow :)

Monica said...

You are so funny! Cracked up several times but the best was "it's a shame about that foot". I enjoy your sense of humor, keep it up=)

Linsey said...

Mr. Cherub needs to wipe that smug look rightoffhisfacethisveryminute!!

He has a bad attitude. I'm glad that he is already in a corner.