Confessions of a Plant Murderer

I give up, and hereby turn myself into the proper authorities.

I killed them.

I recently spent $50 for two of these flower baskets:

I bought them 4 weeks ago. They were full and lush and beautiful. When I put them into their special hanging baskets the foliage was so thick I could barely see to get the hanging chains around the pot. When I took them back to the store, 2 weeks ago, I was told that I had underwatered them, and that I should water them twice a day until water runs out the bottom. Now they’re still dead, but they’re also really really wet. I’ve removed them from their hanging locations on my front porch so as not to frighten neighborhood children.

I also bought four of these little mum pots:

These were not underwatered, but, rather, drowned in the water captured by the deceptively innocent-looking, brightly-colored, outer pots after the last big rain storm, a development which went unnoticed by me for a couple of days.

The above were all purchased from a fancy nursery chain, where I paid premium prices.

This basket was purchased at my grocery store for a humble $12, and for some reason seems to be thriving. Apparently my aura doesn’t reach to the back yard.

Go figure.

You’ll also notice the beautiful tomato plant in the background, which has yet to be eaten by the deer, and is, at this moment, the proud bearer of a single green tomato. This is, of course, only a matter of time.

I was under the mistaken impression that the stinky spray I squirt around the yard was actually protecting the daylilies by my mailbox from the local deer population, until I went to get the mail yesterday and noticed that, while all of the stalks are still there (they’re tricky, those rats with long legs), there were only 2 actual blooms remaining. I give them a day, two at the most.

I was visiting First Son in Cleveland over the weekend, and we were sitting outside Presti’s in Little Italy. (If you haven’t been there, get thee hither. And have a buccalati or two, and a cinnamon star, or three, and their antipasti, and a cappuccino. Not necessarily in that order. Their “Italian Sandwich” didn’t look half bad either, and the lemon ice was crisp and refreshing. And no, they’re not paying me for advertising. That’s funny, I almost wrote they’re not paying me for free advertising. Ha!) Hanging over our heads were beautiful flower baskets, not unlike this one:

As I had spent several hours there that day, first eating my lunch and sipping my coffee and reading my book (The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss, I highly recommend it!) while First Son worked his shift, and then again when he met me there afterwards, I eyed them frequently, on the alert for signs of wilting or the loss of the will to live.

I’ve decided my gardening efforts might be better spent with plants like this one:

Although one of the little metal petals (see what I did there?) have been bent by the hose. At least it’s not dying. Not yet, anyway. Give me a few weeks.

Here we see Second Son celebrate his 18th birthday:

First Son was 21 in February. Only Daughter’s a beautiful 10.

Given my record with plants, I guess they should count themselves lucky that I’ve managed to keep them alive for this long.

3 Responses to “Confessions of a Plant Murderer”

  1. June 30, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Oh, how happy I am to learn that I am not the only one who does things like this! Thank you so much for sharing so bravely.

  2. 2 Boston Margy
    July 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Yow! That’s some pretty bad plant mojo.

  3. July 5, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Funny. Or maybe not — I have a green thumb and can’t understand how you killed such healthy plants! Drainage is important and in any potted plant that is outside, if it rains, I check the plant and usually take it off the tray, turn the tray upside down, and sit the pot back on the upside down tray so it can drain properly. Plants usually don’t like to be waterlogged. If the pots don’t have drainage holes, then you have to tip them and drain out the excess water. I personally wouldn’t buy a pot w/out drainage holes, unless I planned to drill drainage holes into them myself. I’ve only ever drilled holes into plastic pots, not ceramic, and I think you need a special drill bit for ceramic (so you don’t crack it).

    Your hanging plants could for sure need to be watered twice a day — if it’s v. hot and they are in full sun. But you can stick your finger in the dirt about 1/2″ down and if it’s still moist, they probably have enough water. Of course, if you stick you finger in there in the early a.m. and it’s supposed to get v. hot AND they’re in direct sunlight, then check them later in the afternoon to make sure they haven’t dried out. Also, with flowers, it’s good to feed them with each watering (well, once a day if you’re watering them twice a day). Annual flowers are heavy feeders and usually potting soil doesn’t have enough nutrients to keep them flowering all summer, so adding plant food to the water is a good idea and you’ll have more flowers all summer long if you do. It’s a good idea to dead-head the spent flowers, too (just pinch them off) so the plant doesn’t put effort into the dying flowers, but instead puts its energy into the new flowers.

    Sorry you killed your lovely hanging baskets. Nothing prettier than fully flowering baskets on a front porch. Oh well, try again next year! It’s not that hard, it takes practice.

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