I Turned My Brown Thumb Into a Green Thumb
I have always joked about having a brown thumb instead of a green one. I have good intentions with plants, but I usually kill most of them. My problem was that I watered them too much. For me, caring for a plant equaled watering it. I literally loved them to death.
I did manage to keep hardy plants alive, to my great joy. My brother got me a Philodendron as a gift when I was 13. It’s the only plant that has survived this long.
My parents were great gardeners. As a child, they had a huge garden in our yard. I can remember working with them to weed, pick off pests, gather ripe plants and care for my own little garden plot. And occasionally, they had me get to lawn care and landscaping near me to make the garden more aesthetic-appealing. My favorites were the raspberries bordering 2 sides of the garage and the strawberries.
When I was given my own little corner plot, I planted Shasta daisies, echinacea, and zinnia among a few other flowers. I loved flowers and the butterflies that they drew to our yard. My Mother had flower gardens in raised planters that my Father built all over our property.
After my own children were born, I gave plants a renewed interest. I tried a few easy house plants, a few palms, some morning glories outside during the warm months, hanging petunias or impatiens. I tried peppers many times but they rarely produced peppers and if they did, were never large enough to eat. I’ve overloved and killed many orchids over the years.
With the addition of extreme allergies to my life, I’ve had to learn to grow my own food. Organic food from health food stores is usually incredibly expensive and is not always guaranteed to be corn free. The safest option is home grown because I control all of the factors of what my food is exposed to.
When I first moved to this house, my Mom helped me plant a small outdoor garden. The weeds overtook it to my great frustration. Creeping Charlie choked out most of my plants. I did get some tomatoes and small ears of corn (ironic, right? This was pre-corn allergy.). After that, I gave up planting in the ground. Nate built me a planter around the mulberry tree in the backyard, which I grew flowers and hostas in, for an easy to maintain, decorative garden.
Inside, I grew potted plants. I tried basil by the sink but I ended up overwatering it. My next sink plant was rosemary, which, as it turns out, LOVES being overwatered. In fact, if I don’t water it often, it starts to die. I also grow potted plants on my porch and bring them inside over winter. My theory was, if they die, that’s ok because they would have died if I had left them outside to die by frost. If they live, I have another plant to enjoy.
This last year, my gardening skills have grown, as has the number of plants in and out. I have several plants that live inside year round, Outside, on my porch, my number of potted plants has grown. After installing a critter fence, it was clear that the plants where staying healthier and growing faster. Those pesky critters can really make a dent in most plants. Those interested in the specific fence used, I found it here. I renewed my attempt for ground grown plants. I planted several things around the porch outside and started a new side garden. I’ve also planted raspberries and blueberries along the fence.
I am not an expert gardener. I have, however, turned my brown thumb into a green one with persistence and determination. I’ve never given up. If my plants die, I try again. I do more research. The best way I’ve learned is by experience and trial and error.
I recommend everyone give gardening a try. It is so rewarding. When I eat food from my own garden, I have a great pride and satisfaction that I have never gotten from bought food.
If you are afraid of killing plants, don’t let that deter you! Keep trying! Start with potted plants. Try something easy to maintain, like impatiens, petunias, philodendrons, or palms like I did. Otherwise, try checking out the end of the year plant sales that most greenhouses have. You can usually get plants cheap or for free. Use the mindset that if it dies, at least you tried. Research what you can do differently next time.
Do you care for any plants? What do you grow? Have you also overcome a brown thumb or has gardening come naturally to you?