Still Trying For My Green Thumb

Yesterday, I decided to try my hand at a small sago palm again.

Last fall, I purchased one because it said “Wants Minimal Attention” on the tag, figuring it would be hard to go wrong with a plant like this.

Turns out, it was not so hard after all.

So when I came home with a new one today, LCB looked at me with skepticism highly appropriate for one who well knows my vegetational shortcomings.

“It was on clearance,” I answered.

Those four words explained everything.

So here we go again.

Although, I’m starting to wonder why certain plants that aren’t necessarily seasonal are placed on clearance, since there were small sago palms that looked identical right around the corner from the one I purchased, all at full price.

Then, I started thinking about it, and wondered if that is part of why I have a difficult time making plants survive more than a few months. I’ve always blamed things like my forgetfulness when it comes to watering, my lack of fertilizer usage, and the like. But maybe part of my failure can be blamed on the fact that I tend to buy the plants that are already downtrodden, or neglected, or maybe even abused. Seriously. I suspect this would naturally impact my success rate.

Now, I am contemplating making this a new personal mission. Several of my friends rescue animals. Maybe I’ll start rescuing plants from the clearance racks of the world.

Bring me your poor, weary plants that have seen nothing but the bowels of life. I’ll drag out their misery for a few more months save them from their fate and make them what Shakespeare called “new baptized.”

Then, in a surprising twist, LCB came home from the store last night and announced that he had what he termed “a romantic surprise” for me.

“Socks for the boys,” I guessed, thinking he’d finished a task I intended to complete today but never did

He gave me a look.

Wrong category, I thought.

I tried again. “Toilet paper?”

I got another look.

“Come downstairs and see,” he answered, and started down the stairs.

There, sitting in the kitchen, was this:

Who knew he meant romantic in the literal sense?

“Some lady with a German accent helped me pick one out,” he said, and proceeded to act out the exchange between the two of them, complete with accent. An interesting quirk about LCB is he’s really good at accents, and takes any opportunity he can to use them in his speaking. This was especially entertaining (and time-consuming) back when he traveled internationally with great frequency, and would come back from his trips loaded with stories. I’ve mentioned the “L” in his name stands for loquacious, so you can imagine the longevity of these reenactments as well.

Anyway, I was truly touched by the orchid.

That is, until he got to the part where the lady told him to tell me not to water it, but to only put two ice cubes a week in the orchid’s pot.

Clearly, I’m whatever the opposite of a horticulturalist is, but that just sounds wrong to me. Ice is, well, really cold, which seems counterproductive. And, does one put both ice cubes in at the same time, or does one stagger the ice cubes three-and-a-half days apart?

Then, when my mind was already spinning with all this counterintuitive data, I read the accompanying tag, which explicitly states to use 3 ice cubes per week, and gives no indication about the sequencing of the ice cubes.

Finally, I realized I was also working with incomplete information. When did the store last “cube” its orchids and how many did they use? It seems like this information should be conveyed to the buyer at purchase, because this will obviously dictate my future plan of attack.

The weight of successfully caring for two plants, one rescued no less, is really starting to weigh on me. And given that the orchid was not rescued, it means its demise will be my fault alone.

It’s great responsibility for one so unwise in the ways of growing things.

3 Replies to “Still Trying For My Green Thumb”

  1. What a sweet gesture from LCB! I have no idea of what to do with orchids. They are so beautiful until I decimate them. For the sake of the species, I leave them alone. Best of luck with yours! You are a brave, fearless woman. As for the sago, lots of water will make it happy. We have some we rescued that have managed to survive by being soaked by the kiddos during their water adventures.

    1. Well, this is my very first orchid, for sure. I’ve walked by them for years and thought they look like something I could destroy just by being in the same room with them. So we’ll see. I’ll try the water with the sago palm and see how it goes. Maybe I should keep it in the shower, or underneath a rain gutter, just to be safe.

  2. Wow. An orchid is an enormously sweet gesture. I have a definitive black thumb, so I’m not sure I could handle the pressure of something so delicate and pretty. I only do well with plants that live to despite my best efforts. Good luck!

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