Lessons in Living Things - And Keeping Them That Way

by Meghan Medford in ,


I’m really trying to be domesticated, here. Truly, I am. Sometimes I succeed - like when I hosted a Friendsgiving and cooked an entire meal without anyone coming down with food poisoning. Which is a huge win in my book.

Or when I made cute gender-reveal cupcakes for my friend Sarah’s baby shower at work. 

But sometimes, I fail miserably. Especially when it comes to keeping plants alive. I know I’ve touched on this subject before, but those potted plants I wrote about lasted maybe, oh, three weeks before they kicked the bucket. 

RIP, any future in gardening

So I decided what better way to start the new year than to clear out the plant skeletons from my front balcony and porch and spare my neighbors from looking out onto the graveyard of my not-so-green thumb. 

The only problem is, it rained for about a solid week straight and this genius over here bought planters without any drains to let the overflowing water escape from the pot. So I ended up with a soupy concoction of plant remains and moldy topsoil. Yum.

Now, the logical person would just wait until the water evaporated a little bit and deal with this situation later - or have bought self-draining planters in the first place. But not this girl. This girl decided that the best option was to carry this overflowing mess through my living room, downstairs and empty them in the drainage ditch outside my front gate. Would you believe I graduated summa cum laude from a well-known university? No? Because I swear it happened. 

I tried to bag the planter with a trash bag so that at least if the soil-soup spilled, it would be caught in the bag and not on my white, shag rug. (Are you cringing yet?) But my (occasional) frugality got the best of me and those off-brand Walgreens trash bags ripped one fell swoop as I lifted the planter. Soil was everywhere - on my balcony, on my clothes, in my hair (don’t ask) - strangely, it was everywhere but the planter.

But instead of starting over…. I just ran through the living room, down the stairs and to my front door, pulling a Hansel & Gretel - leaving a soggy trail of soil instead of breadcrumbs. I was hoping to set the planter down and assess my unfortunate situation and try to come up with a better solution, when the trash bag completely ripped in half and this happened:

That’s about four pounds of disgusting, soggy potting soil. Right in front of my front door. Oh and hey look, you can see dead mum #3 to the right! 

So that was planter numero uno. I had two more to go, and wouldn’t you know, the results were just about the same: soil in hair, soil on carpet, no soil in planter. See a theme here? I finally got them all emptied, cleaned out and put into a dark corner of my garage - never to be used again, I’m sure. 

But then I had to deal with this soil mess. And since it was that perfect balance of soil to water, a broom wasn’t doing anything to help the situation. So I had to hose it off. For twenty minutes. In 45 degree weather. 

But the work paid off and I finally had a clean front courtyard. I’m sure my neighbors got a kick out of watching my soil-struggle. Happy to provide the entertainment, guys.

I was feeling relieved to be rid of the dying plants/reminder of my failure when I realized that my huge, indoor fiddle leaf fig tree had started to lose a scary amount of leaves and turn brown. 

I seriously give up. This is is a sign from God telling me to stop touching his creations and just stick to the plastic stuff from now on. I get it, Big Guy. I get it.

So lessons I’ve learned from this:

1. don’t let me buy white rugs

2. don’t let me buy living things

3. don’t let me babysit your kids (probably for the best after reading this, no?)