My birthday was earlier this month. All in all, it was a pretty good day. The kids called with plans for a week end party, my husband bought me a sentimental card and took me out to a very nice dinner. Then he dropped a bombshell I wasn’t expecting. He wanted to buy me flowers, specifically a plant. I didn’t know what to say. Not because I was necessarily touched by his thoughtfulness, although there is that. The fact is, I was truly rendered speechless in an – oh, no, not again sort of way.
You see, I’m horrible with plants. Saying I have a brown or even black thumb doesn’t begin to do justice to the malady that afflicts me. Plants in my care have no chance of survival. Zero. None. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
They may as well shrivel up and die before they even arrive at my house because, try as I might, that will ultimately be their fate. After so many years my husband knows this and yet he insisted. What else could I do but graciously accept? So off we went to find a suitable sacrifice…uh…specimen.
After some offers I absolutely had to refuse – temperamental African Violets, (it makes me shudder to even thing about raising those); fragile Boston Ferns, (the kind my mother used to grow en masse by the way) nope. Finally we settled on a Calla Lily. I had heard of them. This one was purple, my favorite color and seemed to be reasonably healthy (for now, anyway). ‘Indirect sunlight, moderately moist soil and 60 to 70 degree temperatures’ to quote the full color instruction stick. The one which, by the way, also sported the picture of an entire, beautiful bouquet.
Easy enough, don’t you think? For normal plant growers, I suppose. Of which I am not one.
What’s indirect sunlight exactly? Either the sun’s shining down or it isn’t. Sun beams don’t shine from the side, do they? I mean, the sun would have to leave its position in the sky to do that, which isn’t going to happen. Sunlight, direct or not, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground on the issue. Sounds to me a little like being somewhat pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t. Again no middle ground.
The only thing for sure I could surmise was that direct sunlight was probably not good.
But back to the fate of the innocent little plant of mine. The center of our living room, aka away from any and all windows seemed to be as indirect, sunlight wise, as one could get. This is where I set my treasure. Then I made sure the soil was moist, even added some extra water because we were going out of town for a few days. Just to be sure said soil really did remain ‘moderately moist’ while we were gone. When we returned, the leaves were getting a little pale, yellow even. Not only that, water sat, yes sat, about a half an inch deep, in the pan underneath the pot. Could this be the beginning of the inevitable end? Apparently my idea of moderately moist and their idea of moderately moist were two completely different moderately moists. We, that tiny instruction stick and I, had something else we couldn’t agree on.
In addition to that whole direct and indirect sunlight thing.
At any rate, I’m trying to reform; I’m letting the poor thing dry out a little and moved it from the center of the living room to a shelf near a window in my office. A little closer to a window, but far enough away, I hope, from any and all direct sunbeams.
Fingers crossed these new arrangements will prove to be beneficial. Please send positive thoughts our way and wish both of us luck. Here’s hoping I can at least grow one measly little plant.
That was then, this is now.
As it turned out, the poor little Calla Lily didn’t survive. I watched with appropriate angst as its poor little leaves shriveled to nothing. Heartbroken, I carried its pot with dirt intact, out to the garage with the intention to use it someday, maybe, for some other form of foliage unlucky enough to fall into my hands.
Fast forward a year, and then some. Taking a deep breath, I decided to plant some double petunias for the summer. Nothing fancy, I’d just put a few in an assortment of unused flower pots I had on hand from previous endeavors. As I foraged in the garage the other day for appropriate receptacles, I noticed a grey plastic pot sitting on top of the refrigerator out there behind a cardboard box.
Lifting it down, I discovered the miracle I mentioned up top. That Calla Lily I’d taken for dead was ALIVE! Just look at it now!
Talk about thriving on benign neglect. I have no clue how this happened, but I’ll take it. No flowers yet, either. Those will no doubt take some time.
Right now, I'm simply basking in this bonafide evidence of a miracle. And enjoying every minute.
My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the stories I write, please visit my WEBSITE