Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Have a Brown Thumb

Spring 2010 - The day after I planted. It looks great, but won't last very long.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I had a green thumb.

I don't know what happened to it. All I know is that I don't have one anymore.

I miss having a green thumb.

I have two nice porches, one in the front and one in the back. The front one is where I do a lot of writing in the spring and for part of the summer. The front porch is about 35 feet long and 8 feet wide. It faces north east, catches some morning sun and is in shade the rest of the day. It's a perfect summer porch.

The logical thing to have in such a large, shady space is lots and lots of flowers. You know, fragrant herbs, trailing plants, big blooms in vibrant colors and plants that attract humming birds, butterflies and assorted cuteness. Big pots, little pots, window boxes and converted containers over-flowing with endless flowers, just like in all the garden magazines.

Only in my dreams, I'm ashamed to say.

Every year I start with high hopes. This year I'm going to be good and water every day. So, I buy a bunch of plants, potting soil and so forth, always with the very best of intentions.

Every year, I kill a bunch of plants. Last year, I even killed a bunch of Aloe Vera – a relative of the cactus.

I'm a hopeless brown thumb with a porch lined with pathetic pots of stunted, wilted, colorless weeds.
When we moved in, we had a deck that baked from morning until after noon. The only shade was an umbrella over a table. I spent very little time on the deck – complained that we needed a roof over it to make it a porch. It took a couple of years, but we got the roof. It made a difference on the entire house, an unexpected plus. I immediately moved outside, started putting up plants…and killing them.

At first I blamed it on no water spigot up front. I had to carry water from the house, so of course I lost a few (dozen) plants. So the next year I got a water barrel. It gave me more confidence, but it became a brothel for mosquitoes. I dropped a couple goldfish in the barrel, which took care of the mosquito brothel.

The plants still died – because I couldn't remember to water them every day.

After years as a plant serial killer, I was going to give up, put in silk flowers and dare the neighbors to notice.

Instead, I made a small investment.
More about that later – I've got to track down my camera.


Jean Davis said...

Have you considered drip irrigation? That might be just the thing to take care of the watering for you.

I suck at remembering to water my potted plants too. It's a good thing my kitchen window gives me the full view of wilted flowers to remind me.

K. A. Jordan said...

I have, and I found a solar powered pump that works in my rain barrel.

I'm getting ready to write the follow up to 'Brown Thumb' as soon as I have the system set up and working correctly.

So far so good - I'm looking forward to writing on my porch this summer.

Do you have one?