Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's a Jungle Out There

You may be wondering why there is a picture of an African Violet here. Well, today I am bereft of inspiration so you all will be subjected to the True Confessions of a Plant Killer. Do not allow the images of lush foliage fool you. I am a killer even though my murders are never premeditated. Nonetheless, I seem to be able to dispatch any green thing with cruel efficiency. This lovely little plant is a cutting from a violet Mr. Lime gave my mother. She could make pressure treated lumber bloom. We have this cutting because the original plant got so huge it crawled out of it's pot. I don't believe it was with any malice such as Seymour in the musical Little Shop of Horrors. I'm still not turning my back on this innocent looking thing though. It may someday realize my herbicidal tendencies and decide to strike pre-emptively.

Here we have Mike, our spider plant. Yes, we name many of the plants that manage to survive sharing air space with me. This tradition was started by Mr. Lime who nursed back to health a Swedish Ivy I nearly dispatched after leaving it out in a hard frost. One day it was a thick, lush, vital looking thing. The next morning it was a shivering, frozen shade of its former self. It was reduced to one stick with 2 leaves clinging tenaciously to the stalk. When it was apparent the Ivy would survive in some fashion Mr. Lime christened it Sven. I suppose it was rather like the practice in the dark ages of not naming a child until you knew it would survive infancy. Unfortunately, when Sven seemed to have recovered I tried to show him some love to make up for nearly killing him. I loved him to death. It was not unlike kindergarten when I overfed the class fish because he looked hungry. I feared for my own life when he was found belly up in his bowl. Lucky for me, Mr. Lime is not into an eye for a leaf justice.

This is Shlomo the Wandering Jew. I suspect Shlomo would wander right out of here if he were actually ambulatory. Forty years in a desert couldn't be any worse than waiting for me to water him. I picked all the dead bits off Shlomo last week and moved him to the only spot that gets any sun. Mr. Lime asked if I had watered the plant. What silly man expects that?

Here is Phil the Philodendron, creative name, huh? Phil and I get along just swimmingly because he seems to thrive on the kind of neglect only I can give. I like Phil because his tendrils get as unruly as my hair. We have an understanding and mutual appreciation about this neglect/unruly appearance thing. Still, Mr. Lime will fuss over Phil, coo to him, run his hands gently over the leaves, and reassure Phil that he'll always take good care of him. Makes me wonder if I need to photosynthesize in order to get that sort of attention.

This poor nameless conglomeration of doomed greenery has no name in spite of the fact that it has survived for a number of years. Well, the philodendron and the big spikey thing survived. There were some other things in there that did not fare so well. I think it was originally a sympathy arrangement I received, could have been in memory of Sven.

I know you all may not believe me when I say I have a black thumb of death since I am showing you all these seemingly healthy looking plants. Trust me, they live only because Mr. Lime attends to them and has more or less banned me from any aspect of their care. Here we see an example of a plant I nurtured with my own unskilled hands. I planted it, watered it and...well, that's about it. Granted it is now winter and things don't grow to well, but this is roughly how fruitful the plant was even during the peak growing season in summer. I think out of the 8 tomato plants I planted I harvested 4 tomatoes. That might be an overestimation. I planted basil and oregano too. They did about as well as this plant. In the past I've even been able to kill mint when I attempted to cultivate it. That is skill my friends.

I hate plastic and silk flowers but have no skill with live ones. I've resorted to buying them pre-killed. See? Dead plants can actually be lovely. I guess it's all a matter of how you kill them. And aren't these artfully arranged flower corpses?

Well, all of that to remind you that Mr. Lime bought me an Aerograden for Christmas because it was advertised as guaranteed to grow (read that as Michelle-proof). I planted it right before New Year's and by golly here it is actually growing! Of course, we are only 2 weeks into this. It's early yet. Don't go naming the sprouts yet or anything.


Bunny said...

Another bloggy friend posted about the AeroGarden this week. I never heard of it before this. I guess I don't get out enough.
I also have a black thumb. I can kill almost anything. I had a spider plant that survived many years, but that's about it. Outdoors I do okay, but not so much indoors.

G-Man said...

I have some seeds that I can send you..
And NOT in the 'biblical' sense either..hehehehe
Of course...Even I can grow am African Violet, a Wandering Jew, and a Philodendron..C'Mon!

G-Man said...


James Goodman-Horror Writer said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed. :D You'll have to keep us posted on the progress.

furiousBall said...

you know that scene in Stripes where Bill Murray is begging his girlfriend to not leave? the last protest he throws at her "But all the plants will die!"

Well all my plants are dead since my ex left. I need help.

S said...

Oh man, your plants are good! All of mine sorta resemble the stick in the snow thing up there.
Thats why I live in an orchard, I just have whatever grows here plus weeds n stuff.

lime said...

bunny, i never heard of it until i opened it up on xmas morning.

gman, doobie-doobie doo

james, i shall either be announcing funeral plans or a bountiful harvest as is appropriate.

furiousball, if mr. lime left me every plant would be reduced to a dried brown stick. as for bill murray on relationshops, i am rather fond of his character's reason for the demise of his marriage in 'what about bob?'...there are two kinds of people in this world. those who love neil diamond and the rest of us.

s, i'm a little afraid to move to an orchard for fear that my very presence would be toxic.

Casdok said...

I love indoor jungle plants!!

barman said...

Lime I so hear you. I can kill anything. I once killed a cactus. Sometimes I water to little, sometimes to much. I can not win. I do, however, have a secret weapon.

I have a living room that faces the south. I never did put drapes on it so it is always wide open to the sun light. Any plant that I hang in that room thrives. As a matter of fact I got tirred if how many times it grew down to the floor and across to the window on the oposite side of the room. I would cut it way back and it would do it again. Finally I decided to kill them off and replace them with fake that really do look pretty good. Would you believe I stoped watering them and it took over a month for them to die.

So you see I have a magic room. Should you ever need to borrow my room for a true lost cause case just let me know. I bet we can save it.

Hypersonic said...

Just don't ever visit the Amazon, OK!

Cooper said...

It's a big club...welcome...

SignGurl said...

Your Aerogarden picture looked like a dining room table with plants on plates.

I loved that saying that your mother could grow treated lumber. I suspect I could too.

lime said...

casdok, i am quite simply amazed

barman, i am overcome with envy. my situation is not helpd by living in a house with very little natural light.

hypersonic, but how will i ever visit you then?

cooper, when can i expect my membership card to arrive?

signgurl, people like you and my mom amaze me.

TorAa said...

Dear you, this a standard comment:
My Glasses are left in the office.

I'm very grateful for your concerns regarding my daughter. That helped her and me too.

This is written by the help of Anna, as i can not see whar I write, but I do by many yers of key board practise
I hope it's readable

I will commentyour post, when my glasses are over my nozetip again.


Moosekahl said...

I have Phyl too...and Phyl junior :) Sven is my Chinese bamboo (I had to give it a good midwestern name). The new China Doll and Peace Lily from the funeral haven't been named yet. I've kept them alive long enough now that I feel comfortable asking my friend Amy to make me pots for them. If they survive the transplant, they will be christened.

Jeni said...

Boy, I feel much better now because I am in strong company with my black thumb. I have yet to find a plant that can survive in my home, under my care. Had an ivy plant that lasted I think for 2, maybe 3 years and one Christmas cactus that lived about a year or two but eventually they all went the same direction! To the plant cemetery!

KFarmer said...

House plants and I do not get along~ now outside I can grow just about anything. I guess it's that locked up inside thing :)

Your plants do look lovely and I wish you, the hubby and all your pretty green friends all the luck in the world :)

I read your story about Pop-Pop and damn near died laughing. What a character~ :)

Ornery's Wife said...

I am in the same boat, but I don't have a Mr. Lime available to nurture the poor critters back to life. Ornery is not sympathetic to their cause, so they die at our house if they happen to come in. I thought I'd try again this summer, but ended up passing on the little fledgling to my SIL who is famous for her green thumb. I'm sure in the few weeks she has had it in her care it has flourished. Great idea to name them, maybe I'd have better success!

Anna said...

Being able to kill mint does take considerable skill.

I really enjoyed hearing about all your plants!

TorAa said...

Cant't help it but I love Sven the most. Maybe because I had an Uncle that name.

Also the last deco on the Table is fabulous.

PS. I love them all, but if to choose

Hypersonic said...

Ahhh...but I'm not near the Amazon.

M said...

Phil is beautiful!

i used to have an apartment full of plants until i adopted my first cat. since getting the animals, all plants have died in mysterious crash related accidents which happen while i am at work.

Sudiegirl said...

I don't know if I told you this story...

When my first husband left me, he also left his plants behind. I don't like the responsibility of keeping up plants that aren't mine, so I didn't water them or anything...and they died while hanging in their planters.

One night, my mom came to visit and she asked why I didn't take care of the plants.

I replied, "Because they're Mike's."

Mom shot back, "Well, thank god they weren't children."

I love my mom.