Plant Murderer

While I have been successfully able to keep some of the most frustratingly delicate climbing roses alive for more than 10 years, I regularly murder every houseplant unfortunate enough to come into my home. Now I have had a couple of scares with the roses oweing to serious midwest winters and late frosts. I also pruned too viciously once and then over fertilized the next year.

Mr Mike, our sweet, long suffering,  neighbor finally gave me the best advice a few years ago: cut off the dead stuff, cover them if it frosts…then leave them the hell alone. I have mostly followed it since with good results.


The same cannot be said for the plants living inside.

I love all things green. I attribute my proclivity for house plants to growing up in rural West Virginia surrounded by trees and mountains and wildflowers at every turn. I spent much of my time as a kid running in fields of waist high grass,  picking bundles to put in a coffee can on my dresser beside the jar of lightning bugs that would all be dead in the morning despite the holes in the lid.

Now these experiences did not lend themselves to the care and keeping of potted plants, just to the desire to have them. This means there are several victims of my neglect a year. I forget the water them or over water until it spills out and runs all over the floor. There are several scattered around right now in various states of dying.

My inability to keep them alive has become quite a joke in my family. They regulary send me articles about “impossible to kill” specimens with notes about the very same kind dying in my care. I get tagged in posts reminding me of plants they have brought to me that were quickly replaced by new ones after untimely deaths.

My very funny sister in law just told me to steer clear of this game.


She is hilarious.  This was a jab about a 30 pound jade plant she gifted me last year. Can you guess where it is now? Yep, plant heaven.

Now Hubs has tried to be a savior for the condemned.  He gifted me several of those glass watering globes and even filled them when I forgot. He painted a lovely plant stand for the patio, so I  could rotate them outside for some sunlight and fresh air. He chases the cat away when she tries to dig all the soil out of the pots. The ones with any green remaining owe their survival to him.

But as with other such things like laundry and dinner, plants require lots of attention and upkeep.  Stuff like homework and activities and overtime at work get in the way. He forgets, I forget…they die.

Maybe if they screamed for water in the same whining, nerve grating tone 9 uses when she has to have a snack or she will die right on the floor in front of me they would have a better chance. In fact, you could say that I am conducting important evolutionary experiments. It’s the plant version of roman gladiators.  Only the strongest survive to breed the next generation.

From now on, just call me Darwin.


Mother’s Day Yard Work

Somehow, over the years, we have developed a tradition of 8+ grueling hours of yard work, punctuated with one or two soccer games and at least one trip to Home Depot. Fancy, right?

Now you maybe asking, where are the flowers…where is the breakfast in bed?

Tradition demands I get to sleep in while Hubby, 16, and 9 make me breakfast and coffee. I get to sleep till 8am, non-negotiable. Then its right to the manual labor. The flowers come in plastic flats- not glass vases.

At the end of the hard day, I have a weed free patio with lovely flowers to enjoy my coffee on for all the summer weekends to come. While it is not a day for me to rest and be adored, I do feel appreciated. Bleeding fingers and aching backs are my gifts. I wouldn’t trade it for all the brunches in the world.

This year there was a few extras. I was suckered into a kids workshop at Home Depot which looked messy and included lots of hammering. I was not enthusiastic. 9 was all about it, so we signed up.

It was awesome! How have we missed these gems before? They are hosted free the 1st Saturday of every month. This month was a bird house that 9 assembled completely alone including hammering several nails that I dutifully held still with my eyes squeezed shut. Then she was allowed to paint it, and gorge on popcorn while it dried. They even include a cute apron to protect your clothes. We will do again!

As a surprise Hubby constructed a frame for a porch swing that has been in storage since Neenee, his mom, passed away last year. He gave it a fresh coat of paint and we were able to have a quiet few minutes to enjoy it last night. She enjoyed beautiful flowers as well so it was nice to think of her and enjoy the hard work everyone put in yesterday. I certainly felt loved, which is what its all about really. Fancy brunch is overrated.