MY GREEN THUMB

The Button Box

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My Grandmother and my mother could grow anything and they both had beautiful house plants and flowers in their gardens. I on the other hand did not inherit their talent for growing beautiful flowers. Not that I haven’t tried over the years but not many plants can survive my tender loving care in the house or yard.

I have had two philodendrons that did well in the house and actually ran amuck but that is the only house plant that I have had any luck with. I think they could grow in the desert without anyone to care for them because they are so hardy.

Both plants grew so big I actually had to start cutting off the ends of the runners to keep them under control. The one I have now has a square stake that is about 30 inches tall in a big pot that sits on a wrought iron stand that is about 12 inches off the floor.

The philodendron is up and over the stake and back down to the pot again. It also has runners on the floor that run under the glass table that is about 6 feet long and sits beside the pot. Most of the runners have made it back to the pot and circled it and back under the table a couple of times.

This philodendron like the first one sits by the glass sidelight at the front door and they must really love it there. The first one grew up and managed to grow over the top of the door frame. I am not sure how it hung on up there and how it managed to get water up to the end leaves. But it grew up and over the door and down the other side.

That is as far as my green thumb goes. If they can’t manage on their own they are a goner in my care. I had a customer give me a Boston fern one year for Christmas. I told her when she gave it to me that I would probably kill it.

She told me if I would give it a little sip of water every day and talk to it that it would grow like a weed. About 2 months later she asked me how the fern was doing. I told her it had died a few weeks before like I told her it would.

She then asked me if I had watered it like she said to do and I told her I had. Then she asked me if I had talked to it. Yep, I told her I had talked to it and especially when it started to die. But I told her it must not have liked the language I was using.

My mother had one of the Boston ferns and it hung in a picture window. It grew so big that it covered the window. Even though the top of the pot was at the top of the window the whole fern was within an inch or two of touching the floor. Every time I saw that plant it made me mad that I couldn’t grow one.

The other plant that my mother and grandmother could grow that I couldn’t was an African violet. I can’t remember how many of them I have tried to grow with all kinds of pots that said they were made for the violets. I could never get one to live long enough for it to bloom.

Once it started to go downhill I would take it to my mother and she would bring it back to life and have it blooming in a month or so. One of my neighbors could grow them also. I took one to her that was on its last leg and she had it back healthy and blooming in no time.

The flowers in the yard have to be very hardy and something you can’t kill. I do well with pansy plants and their cousin the violas and with the ground cover plants that don’t bloom. I can sometimes get petunias to make it through the summer season but I don’t branch out to much beyond that.

The only other plant that I have had good luck with is a miniature rose bush. It was given to me about 20 years ago at least in one of those little pots. I planted it next to the house by the garage door that faces south. It has grown almost as tall as I am a couple of times and I cut it back to about 3 feet tall every year. It just blooms its heart out and is covered with roses all summer. The little roses are about as big around as a quarter and are cute in miniature vases.

One other plant that I have in the backyard that does bloom well is the Moon Flower. Some consider it a weed and it grows in pastures well. I have heard that it can make cows drunk if they eat the flowers and leaves. But it is a beautiful large plant with huge white trumpet shaped flowers that open in the evening.

The butterflies and the hummingbirds love the nectar even though they have to crawl way down into the bottom of the flower to drink. Then they have to wiggle their way out backward when they are finished drinking. It is easy to tell if one is in there because the flower is vibrating.

Somewhere along the way my green thumb didn’t develop like my mom and Grandmother’s did. In fact I think it is black rather than green and is the kiss of death to any plants or flowers I bring into the house. To contact Sandy: [email protected]

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