Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Plight of the Green Thumb

Last Sunday as I opened the window over my kitchen sink to let in the warm spring air I turned around and noticed this beautiful healthy poinsettia sitting quite proudly on the island, definitely out of place. Who keeps a $7 poinsettia alive not only through the Christmas season but way into March?? Ah.. the challenges of having a green thumb.

My home is beginning to look like a nursery. Give me a plant? You can bet it will be twice the size next time you come over. My indoor plants take all the love and attention I can muster. I often give them baths in my bathtub or kitchen sink so that they can luxuriate in a cocktail of plentiful filtered water and the morning's left over coffee. I swear they are smiling as they absorb the nutrients and attention! (Maybe it's the cocktail I'm drinking.. ?)

Most people worry about having boomerang children in midlife. I'm happy to say that my three sons are living on their own and thriving. No, rather, I have boomerang houseplants. Let me explain…

My two oldest sons lived together during and after college for several years. When Patrick left for Denver to attend graduate school, he divided his house plants between Rob and me for safe keeping. I was happy to house and nurture almost 10 plants for Patrick during the three years he was gone. In the meantime, Rob moved home for a short time, bringing all of his plants plus Patrick's. I worked overtime to absorb the extra greenery. Eight months later, Rob moved out, taking only his favorite plant- a remnant of a long lost lover- and leaving the rest with me.

Do the math! My plants plus Patrick's plants plus Robert's plants and Patrick's plants minus one plant. Yikes! My photosynthesis runneth over!

Low and behold, Patrick finished graduate school and moved back to San Jose. When I asked him about reclaiming his plants, he said "Don't worry Mom! I'll just buy some new ones!" Oh Lordy! However, once settled in his new digs, he came over to collect his bounty. Among them the beautiful Japanese Maple I gave him for his college graduation, a prolific rose colored geranium, and, to my dismay, a delicate fern that I had repotted in a lovely french blue pot that went perfectly with the decor in my guest room. ( …most likely payback for me letting his homegrown-from-a-pit avocado tree freeze to death in my back yard winter of 2013.)

However, Patrick was generous enough to leave me a cactus that had grown arms, boobs and hair since he left ("she clearly loves it here, Mom!") and a stately coffee tree that adorns the landing of my staircase. I am also housing a fugitive ficus tree stolen in a drunken dare by both sons and their friends off a porch in Berkeley a la college years. Believe me, if I knew whose it was I would return it! But until then it will grace the corner of my living room reaching almost to the ceiling.

I repotted several plants last weekend, among them a Bleeding Heart that I actually purchased myself several years ago.

That's me.. a bleeding heart. A hostel for a feral cat and closets full of men's suits and baseball cards. My home is a revolving door to children, friends, and homeless plants. I am honored.

Be green, dear thumb. Be green.

6 Responses

  1. You have not only a way with words, but with plants as well! I still follow your advice to “paint my garden with a wide brush.” The tulips were beautiful this spring! Thank you!

    • Kimberly, so glad your tulips are coming up so prettily! I have lupine and freesias blooming right now along with wisteria. The scent is stunning! You’ve inspired me to plant some tulips!

  2. Love your words, Rosemarie. What a talent you have! You should consider writing a book. I would be the first to purchase it! At some point, you’re going to have to share your deepest secrets on how to grow plants. Photosynthesis has a better chance with ice crystals of frozen tundra than with languid leaves of potted plants in my care. Not good!

    • Kathy, I wonder if I could have been a guest on Mr. Rogers back in the day! Mrs. Green Thumb! I really should be writing that book rather than spending so much time in the bathtub with my houseplants!! Any ideas for a topic? xox

  3. Nice post Mom. I’m forever grateful for your selfless plantsitting efforts over the years, and your tutelage in my pursuit of greenthumbery. I’m happy to report that your ‘french-blue’ fern is doing well in its window seat at my house. But I would gladly trade it to you for a comparable specimen without as much sentimental value. Also, the ficus was actually pilfered from an Almaden porch by some Notre Dame High alumna- who will remain unnamed- as a housewarming gift for our Berkeley apartment (same goes for the rose-colored geranium).

    • Patrick, I stand corrected! And thank God it was those naughty Notre Dame girls that pilfered the fugitive ficus and not the “men for others”! But sweet of them to want to bring you all a house warming gift! Keep the French blue potted fern. It missed you. xox

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