I don’t know what happened, but I was not born with a green thumb. I think Mimi can make something grow just by looking at it, but for some reason, I seem to kill every plant I buy. I feel like its one of the few traits from Mimi that I didn’t seem to inherit.
And don’t think I haven’t tried to keep plants alive! “Oh, succulents are easy!”, they told me. “They’re basically a cactus! Anyone can keep a cactus alive!”. But the four planters on the back porch of my apartment, holding the decaying remains of said succulents, tell a different story.
I think I over-love them. I’m a plant mother who smothers, (read: over-watering).
But I was determined that I could keep the plants alive at my new home. I refused to let the previous landscape-architect-owner down by killing off plants - and by default, his memory as well. Apparently, Tim (old owner), loved landscaping so much that he would come by and water, prune and plant in his neighbors courtyards as well. He was like Succulent Santa, dropping off cacti in the dead of night. Sometimes, my neighbors will walk by my front door as I’m constantly refilling my courtyard fountains and sigh, “You’re great and all, but we miss Tim.” I have a lot to live up to, I guess.
But I guess Tim over-fertilized before moving out (probably in anticipation for two girls in their early twenties to move in) because I only watered the courtyard once or twice a week and it practically exploded overnight. It was like a jungle of bamboo (and a bunch of other plants that I won’t even begin to try to name). I felt like a success story - like the Rudy of landscaping.
So my first step was to cut back the bamboo that was encroaching my walkway to the front door. Those suckers are hardy, thank goodness, because otherwise they’d probably be dead. I tried my best with some garden shears, but when I stepped back and admired my work on the first of the bamboo plants, I realized that I was about as good as giving a plant a haircut as I was to myself - terrible. It was the plant-version of my self-inflicted bang trim that I so graciously gave to myself when I was eight.
So I caved and called the landscape guru that Tim had recommended. It’s like he knew I’d be really bad at this.
When he agreed to come by and clean up the front courtyard for a good price, I was sold. Best $15 I’ve spent.
Ta-da! My courtyard looked pretty great after. And by that, I mean I could finally walk through to my front door again without being attacked. But my courtyard, nonetheless, looked great and I hadn’t let anything die yet. So now I’m getting cocky and have the audacity to drive to Lowe’s to get some (gasp) potted plants. I haven’t tried to keep a potted plant alive since college, when Melody and I would keep some poor plant outside our Logan Square apartment, remembering to water it only when we were unlocking the door and had a little leftover Smart Water or Chic-Fil-A lemonade leftover in our backpacks. Thank God we didn’t have a dog, right?
But I was determined to get some potted plants for my home after work, but before my yoga class, last week. In order to make it to yoga in time, that meant that I had to go Lowe’s straight from work. In my dress and heels.
I want you to imagine a girl with minimal upper body strength, in four inch heels, in a dress, trying to pick up a ceramic planter without 1. falling over and 2. flashing anyone. It was not my finest moment.
But I made it to the checkout counter, and later to my car with three plants (that I had researched were on the more difficult-to-kill side), three planters, and the smallest bag of topsoil I could find.
I finally got them back to my place and into their new homes, all the while covered in dirt and smelling like manure. But it was a success in my book! Until I got to yoga and realized that I had a nice handful of topsoil settled into the bottom of my purse. This is why I don’t carry nice purses. I have no idea how the top soil wound up in there, but I can’t say I’m really surprised…
I’ll start taking bets now on how long I can keep these suckers alive. Winner gets to buy my living room curtains!