Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy accident

Captain's Log, Stardate 04.29.2008

Okay, confession time: I have a black thumb. Don’t believe me? Here’s what’s left of the cyclamen that Captain Caffeine gave me for my birthday.




I have come to realize that the only plants I can’t kill are the ones that I don’t even bother to try to keep alive.

For example, my lavender is flourishing. Although considering how hard it is to kill lavender, maybe that’s not a good example. After all, lavender can grow from just tossing some cuttings on the ground, because you can plant the stems and they’ll root.

Anyway, my gladiolas correction: bearded irises (thanks, Ausjenny!) are flourishing this year. Why? I have no clue. They are my “happy accident” plants.

Here is the key to my keeping plants alive—I can’t have been given them, bought them, or planted them. I didn’t plant the gladiolas—they were growing in the yard when we bought the house, and I could tell they weren’t weeds, so I told Captain Caffeine not to mow it down.

I watered it when I remembered to. Nothing happened all year (we bought the house in February). Then the following March, I had one stalk with two small flowers.

They seem to like my sporadic watering, because they’ve gotten more bulbs and lots more flowers, after almost eight years.



How about you? Any gardening/plant-killing stories?

16 comments :

  1. Oh Camy the bulbs at the bottom are actually bearded Iris's. but they look good.
    I have them in my garden but they dont flower. some of the accidental ones are one called watsonia. they are bulbs you cant kill.
    Dont give up on the cyclamen. just dont water it to much. it doesn't like that.
    indoor plants everyone we have had has died.

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  2. I think plants only have to see me once and they immediately curl up and die.

    My husband had a plant that had been his grandmother's, and it had been alive and flourishing under his care for a number of years. We got married and a couple months later, the plant died.

    Someone gave me one of those long vine-y plants once when I moved into a new apartment and told me it was impossible to kill, and even someone like me could keep it alive...

    I killed it too.

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  3. I just blogged about this very topic yesterday. I am with you, Camy. I can't keep plants alive, indoors or outdoors, so I don't bother anymore.

    But we have to have landscaping in front of our house as part of the neighborhood covenant we signed when we built the house last fall.

    We are going to a nursery to talk to the experts about what plants I won't be able to destroy.
    www.dcstewart.blogspot.com

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  4. Same as you, Camy. Although my grandmother had the gift, any plant I touch dies - and it doesn't take very long either. I've gone to silk flower arrangements in the house, and have even considered purchasing silk-flower hanging baskets for outside.

    But my husband is very good with flowers. He planted daffodil and tulip bulbs as my Christmas gift, and I've enjoyed them outside my desk window all spring. Next he'll do bedding plants for Mother's Day. I condider these the perfect gift.

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  5. Thanks, Jenny! I will definitely take your advice. And thanks for clearing up what those flowers are--I just assumed they were gladiolas, but now I'm glad I know for sure what they really are.

    Thanks also, guys, for letting me know I am not the only serial plant murderer on the planet. :)

    Camy

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  6. The irises are beautiful, Camy! Glads have a similar stem but have several blooms up and down the same stem.

    I had several different colored irises but, for some reason, they all appear to have died. They haven't bloomed this year but last year all I had was the standard light purple. Pretty, but I had some beautiful colors....

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  7. I really love your bearded iris's and wonder what i need to not do to get mine to flower. a neighbour gave me them and said hers always flower. today she asked if i feed them!
    NO i guess that may help.
    I do have 520 tulip bulbs to plant. will do that sometime in may.
    Oh cyclemens will lose there leaves and look dead just leave it somewhere cool or in the shade dont worry about watering it to much in summer. the end of summer early autumn you will see leaves coming back and then water but try not to water the bulb. We have one mum got for her birthday 2 years ago and i would have sworn we killed it last year but its looking so healthy at the moment lovely leaves (if i can stop mum over watering)
    Oh Mum had wonderful carnations only she cant garden anymore and someone didn't water them as we are in our 3rd year of drought they died.

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  8. The black thumb of death lives at our house, too! We have a gardener come a couple times a month to try to stave off the destruction outside the house, and we have one plant inside that has survived our care so far. One. The rest have succumbed and are desperately trying to warn off their friends ;)

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  9. What do you know--as I cleaned my kitchen today, I realized I had a dead plant sitting on the counter.

    Sigh.

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  10. Camy - I'm right there with you! The only plants I could ever reliably keep alive were violets. And for a while I had several. Then after I had my first child I decided to do them in (the violets). I reasoned that I couldn't be expected to care for both a baby and the plants, so I neglected them to the extreme. It took a while, but they finally croaked. As for the baby...she just turned nine!

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  11. Violets were the very first plant I ever killed. :(
    Camy

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  12. Want to hear a REAL black thumb moment? I actually really enjoy gardening and my vegetable seedlings are all coming along very nicely, as are the hanging baskets of variety blue flowers.

    I had repotted a beautiful green plant (I don't actually know any of the plant names...) and put it in my home office.

    As the weather turned cooler here (Australia) I started cleaning out the fireplace and set a fire blazing. This is an old cast iron fireplace that is incredibly dangerous and gets super heated.

    Anyway, there I am, enjoying the warmth and crackle of the first fire of the year and there is my poor potted green plant MELTING! The pot was on the bricking beside the fireplace and the poor leaves were blackened by the heat, the soil was devoid of moisture and even the pot itself was second-degree-burn-style hot.

    The poor plant is still trying to recover. I've moved him well away from the fire to a bright spot under a window where I can give it regular TLC. I don't think he'll ever be the same but hopefully I can bring him back from the brink of death.

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  13. LOL! Somebody send the plant patrol to Rebecca's house for endangerment of potted plants.
    Camy

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  14. Camy,

    I have two cyclamen in my backyard and I wrote to the company I bought them from the first year I had them because they sprouted but then seemed to die. They patiently explained to me that cyclamen are cool weather flowers and they look dead in the warmer months (as well as in the dead of winter.) They urged me to be calm and just let them lie dormant in the summer. Sure enough, when fall came, they sprouted new leaves and flowers and everything!

    Depending on where you live, yours may be okay, too. Just keep them protected from the sun and keep the dirt moist. They will probably rejuvenate on their own when your weather cools off again!

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  15. Thanks, glee! That makes me feel better. I probably shouldn't water them so often, too.
    Camy

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  16. Hiya Camy!

    You're yellow bearded irises are lovely.

    As for having a black thumb, my sister actually killed one of those miniature cactus which is apparently indestructible until they come under her care!

    hehe, so yeah, I understand all about that!!

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