Adventures: I confess, my thumb is not green

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meyer lemon
Meyer lemon 2012-2013. The blossoms made the whole room smell amazing.

I have always dreamed of having an apartment filled with dwarf citrus trees and window herb gardens, an indoor garden wonderland worthy of being featured on Apartment Therapy. Every year I go on a plant buying spree thinking that maybe my thumb has turned a bit more green with age. Maybe this year will be the year I become a master gardener! But alas, growing plants is just not a skill that I have at the moment.

Today I had to say goodbye to my dwarf Meyer Lemon tree I was trying to raise in my apartment. It contracted a scale problem (I know, ew, gross) that was spreading and it was going to be a lot of work to save it. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t able to provide it with the attention it needed. The lemon tree is just the latest in a long list of other plants I have killed because I forget to water them or don’t give them right amount of sun or food or whatever else plants need.

There are some people who make raising beautiful gardens indoors and outdoors look easy. I have an aunt who has a house full of beautiful orchids, always perfectly healthy and in bloom. Of course, I killed the one and only orchid I ever bought. It slowly lost all its flowers and then all its leaves and I was left with a sad brown stalk. I tried so hard to keep it alive but it was determined not to respond. The next time I visited my aunt I asked her what was her secret. Her response was simple, “Oh, well when one of them starts dying I just get a new one.” Hmmm.

Instead of feeling defeated today I reminded myself that it’s impossible to be a great at everything all at once. Skills are learned over time. I have my whole life ahead with many more adventures to come. I gave gardening a good shot but, right now, I don’t have time to focus on honing this skill. I’m not going to give up entirely on gardening but I will rein in my ambitions just a bit. I still have a succulent that seems reasonably happy. I’m told succulents are quite hardy so there may be hope.

The next time I see pictures of people’s awesome gardens, instead of thinking ‘gosh, I wish I could do that, how hard can it be?’ and immediately rushing to the garden store I will think ‘bravo! well done creating a beautiful garden, good for you’ and send good thoughts their way. I’ll go visit the botanical garden or take a walk in the park where I can admire the work of some awesome gardeners. I’ll go for a hike and admire the work of Mother Nature. I’ll continue tending to my little succulent but if things don’t work out, I might just replace it with a new one.


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