Gardening? Good Grief!

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I am very lucky in that I have a wonderful next door neighbor who always takes care of my plants while I’m gone. I am sure that she must think that I am slightly pixelated since by the time I leave I’ve been so busy getting ready for the trip that most of them have sadly been neglected and are half dead. She is a good friend and has never commented to me on that but I have this vision of her standing there with the hose, shaking her head as she attempts to literally pour life back into the long-suffering vegetation. If there were some kind of agency where people could report plant abuse, I am quite sure that many of the neighbors on my street would be calling me in on a daily basis.

Part of the problem with my gardening abilities (or more accurately, “inabilities”) is that I never read the tags when I buy plants. I go simply on looks. If it’s colorful and appears healthy, it goes in my cart. The result has been that some very small spots have something the size of a Redwood growing in it, while the spaces that could accommodate something a little more substantial look like the desert in the height of summer. The Ex used to see me coming in with a bunch of pretty potted petunias or such and would sigh and say “Why don’t you just throw them in the trash now and save yourself a step?”

I almost have a panic attack when someone brings me a plant as a house gift.

Deargodinheaven, suppose they come back a few weeks later and see what’s happened to it? Right now I have a beautiful orchid, an (unnecessary) thank you gift from a friend. Somehow I left it unattended while back east for nearly two weeks and returned to find it filled with new blossoms. I’m home less than a week and have done nothing but looked at it and it’s shedding like a German Shepherd in August. This means that just before the next visit from this generous friend I will be scouring every nursery and florist within a 50-mile radius for another orchid that looks exactly like this one. I even have a photo of it in case I forget what it looked like.

I also have an inordinate fear of spiders ever since I moved to California and found out that Black Widows are quite common here. In fact, when doing my home inspection prior to closing escrow, the engineer pointed out several nests on the patio off the master bedroom. I have sprayed them with everything short of nuclear waste, but I tend to avoid the patio and the plants on it because there are always all sorts of webs out there and I’m never sure what is lurking among the geraniums when I attempt to deadhead. I live in fear that one will bite me and then I will become the “dead head.”

MOTNSO (“More Often Than Not Significant Other”), in his usual caring manner, gave me a bug vacuum as a Christmas gift last year. It looks like something from outer space. Below this paragraph is a picture of it. Some women get perfume or jewelry, but in true practical MOTNSO fashion (and having witnessed my unconciously doing the “girlie” thing on occasion yelling “oooooooh! It’s a big ugly bug!”) he wanted to provide protection from attacking torrents of tarantulas when he is not present. I laughed when I got it, but the first time I saw a big, hairy thing on the ceiling of my bedroom you can bet I ran for the zapper and wielded it like Darth Vader’s light sabre.

I’m not sure how intimidating it is to the bugs, but it certainly looks like it could do serious damage to other items if I am not careful where I aim it.

At any rate, I once again am making a trip to the local nursery after mourning the loss of yet more plants that had no idea that they would be so short-lived in my company. I just hope that when I get there the salespeople don’t see me pulling in the lot and run to put up a sign on the gate that says “Closed for the Season”…especially since the “season” in California is 12 months.

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