Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rachael Waters a Few Certain Plants

I don't have a green thumb. I have a moderate-to-middling brown with green undertones thumb. In the house, I routinely kill anything that's placed in the living room. I just don't see the plants in that room. They don't exist. If I buy a plant and put it on the mantel, I'll do well for maybe a month, and then it will turn crispy around the edges and start to scream in a high, tiny voice that I find I'm exceedingly good at tuning out. Then the leaves drop off, one by one, until it's replaced by another generic Room Plant.

But there are a few plants I care about, and they all came from my mother.

The hellebore in the front yard. I stuck it in the ground, and lo and behold, years later, it's still alive. I have a stubborn fondness for green flowers -- they're so subtle and so in-your-face at the same time. I'm green! What are you going to do about it? Huh? Oh, you're going to admire me? Well, then. Go ahead.

The African violet that was almost dead on her writing desk when I swept it up to live at my house, months after she'd died. It blooms every five or six months, and it's blooming now. Double its size, I need to find a bigger pot and maybe propagate some more plants from it, but I'm rather terrified. I don't want to risk killing it. So instead, I dump water on it (it sits on my writing desk now) and hope for the best. And it just keeps chugging along.

The geraniums on our front sun-porch. My favorite is a Mrs. Cox geranium, and my mother got it from an elderly neighbor, Mr. Hill. (Mr. Hill is very old, and one day called my mother on the phone and said, "Jan? I need you to come over. I think I've finally done it and gone senile, because I just saw a chicken in my hallway." My mother went over and found that a chicken had somehow wandered into Mr. Hill's house.)

All these plants stay alive, and I barely have to try. I throw water at them as often as I remember. But if plants grew on love alone (and they might, I think), that would explain it, wouldn't it?


Sophie Littlefield said...

oh, sweet pea...I have a ficus that I received as a small plant in a pot when my mom died eleven years ago. It's a tree now, and I give its little branches a pat now and then when I go by. I hang ornaments on it sometimes but i hide them in the branches so that only i know they are there.

I love hellebore and somehow I've never planted any. Will be on the lookout for a nice one.

Juliet Blackwell said...

I believe that plants do grow from love. Not from love alone, I'm sure, but I'll bet when you shower Rachael-love on them, they're sure to respond. Wonderful to have something living remind you of someone, isn't it?

L.G.C. Smith said...

Your plants look loved. I have a few plants I've inherited or been given by special people, and they really do grow differently. I love this post. :)

Adrienne Martini said...

I actually LOLd at the chicken story.

Emily said...

Is that Waylon or Willie in that last shot?

Rachael Herron said...

Waylon! You can tell because Willie has long hair, like the singer. :)

Unknown said...

This was beautiful. :) I think we should do an informal poll--how many Pens have black cats?