In The Garden: The Story Of A Black Thumb
Do you garden? If someone did a cursory scan of your hands, would they find a bold, green thumb?
Do you feel a oneness with plants—are you telepathically attuned to their individual desires for sunlight, water, food and care?
If your answer is yes, I’m in total awe.
While I grew up surrounded by women who had an intrinsic connection with and passion for plants, (hey there, Mom and your 35 year old fern), my thumb is decidedly BLACK. Give me the simplest plant with the most basic needs and I will surely reduce it to a withered, crumbling, unidentifiable mass that is begging for the garbage. I can’t seem to find the sweet spot for sunlight, or the correct measurement for hydration. And I absolutely struggle with the kind of container each plant prefers…I just know there are endless options. (There will be so many here next spring!)
Instead I just get moony-eyed over the towering fiddle leaf fig tree in my hair-dressers studio (for which he recommends mayonnaise for polishing the leaves), or the impressive organic farms my friends seem to coax out of their backyards. I may not have a green thumb, but I’m definitely green with envy over those pretty Meyer lemon trees or perky asparagus heads!
One of my favorite plants, for it’s appearance and it’s supposed simplicity of care, is the succulent. The beautiful images I see on blogs of little juicy green buds thriving happily in dresser drawers and suspended glass devices make me swoon! Alas, the best I did was leave a cutting unattended on a humid, Texas porch for too long, and it actually grew just from the drenched Dallas air.
I should probably just give up and stick to these beauties instead.
However, the summer of 2015 was a bit of a turning point. While shopping at a farmers market several months ago, I decided to take a chance on some tomato plant sprouts that, in their squatty cardboard containers, held so much delicious promise…or so much caprese-salad shattering defeat. (Please note, this was the second year of attempting to grow vegetables in our backyard. The first year yielded an impressive collection of tall, leafy plants, but ZERO vegetables to show!) So, home we went, to dig in the dirt, make some covert deals with earthworms and hold my breath.
Against all odds, those suckers grew. Their vines stretched up, out and around, intwining with their neighbors until we had a robust and rowdy block party of plants. After a few weeks, we started to see green baby tomatoes blooming in bunches, and within the past month, it’s been a delight to visit the garden every day to see which red orbs are ripe for the picking. My 4 year old is enchanted by this magic process, which results in stuffed-chipmunk cheeks and too many questions about photosynthesis.
As for me? It’s a good thing the growing season is coming to a close, or I might be tempted to take on something more advanced—like roses, or an entire lawn full of pumpkins. For now I’ll just bask in the autumn sun of my singular (to date) plant-growing success, and continue to hope that the more tips I re-pin on Pinterest about “The Easiest Plants to Take Care Of” the better chance I’ll have next year.
We’d love to hear your gardening tips in the comments below!
Guest post written by Gordmans gardening novice, Jennifer