indoor garden

Indoor Garden Fail

I’m a pretty good gardener when it comes to outdoor plants. I can grow tomatoes, apples, blueberries and asparagus. I have a large garden of daylilies of all colors and tri-color iris. My roses climb to the sky and my primrose line my pathways. All is hunky-dory (A phrase coined in 1860 in New York City which apparently means well built, safe and then a boat? Anyone reading this who knows more please shed light on this.) Yup, from Forsythia to Cyclamen, Rhodies to Rose of Sharon, Azaleas to Asters, St. John’s Wort to Weigelas my gardens flourish with a um, a flourish. But come November the magic stops dead in its’ tracks.

I am a failure in indoor horticulture. Do not get me near a Dracaena Trifasciata (Mother-in-law’s tongue) more like dragon tongue. Philodendron gets leggy and wanders like an explorer… and obviously gives up the quest. My Pothos is pathetic. I tried a Maranta Red Prayer Plant, yeah, not a prayer. My Peace Lily is now resting in peace.

I over water. I under water. I fertilize and I repot. I treat for the inevitable white flies. I stake, I prune. I pinch and I talk nicely. I swear at the brown shriveled remains. I have killed silk plants. (I watered them by mistake.)

In my Mother’s Day she used plastic plants. They faded a bit in the sun after a while, but were marvelous. She was the only one in the neighborhood who had bright red blooming geraniums until the first frost…fake of course. It was one of the few family secrets we had to swear never to tell. I figure most of those neighbors are long gone so it is time to unburden myself. The leaves were real, but she never got any blooms. Enter Ben’s Five and Dime. Every few years she replenished the fake blooms. They magically appeared in April and disappeared (into a box in the attic) before Halloween. The trick was to never let anyone see her during the changing of the guard. I think she did this in the dead of night.

We also had a fake rubber, um rubber tree. It was my job on Saturday mornings to take the spray furniture polish and clean every single leaf. I loved that job. Turns out real rubber trees are not as enthusiastic to get covered in chemicals. Who knew? Now you know.

We did have real Christmas trees, although my grandfather taught her the trick of adding extra branches to bare spots using a drill. In 1959 we begged her to buy an aluminum tree like her best friend had. Pink, rotating spot lights, sparkling and only occasionally shooting sparks. I’ve had a fake evergreen tree for years, but I always spray pine mist into the air just before the guests arrive. You know, to keep them guessing.

About every other year I get an Amaryllis to bloom, but never the next year. My paperwhites, are, paper thin, as in scare. I have lost count the number of times I have attempted to grow avocadoes from their pits. Ditto attempting celery and carrots from their bottoms. I currently have very anemic basil and chives in the greenhouse window my husband built me (ever the optimist I asked him for this in our retirement home).  It pains me to see these once thriving plants wallow away under my watch.

I’d put plastic basil in my window, but it makes for very chewy pesto.

Sally Franz and her third husband live on the Olympic Peninsula. She has two daughters, a stepson, and three grandchildren. Sally is the author of several humor books including Scrambled Leggs: A Snarky Tale of Hospital Hooey, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Menopauseo, and Wired Sal’s Parody Songs and Skits. To see Sally Franz perform these songs, go to her YouTube Channel. And check out her newest book, Wired Sal’s Parody Songs & Skits.



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