Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I Made Plants!

It was 81 degrees this afternoon here on the sunny Gulf Coast, and it's that time of year when a young girl's thoughts turn to... green things. Apparently, my maternal ancestors were farmers for generations (at least, according to my mother), and it's a fairly common occurrence for the women in my family to make random trips to the plant nursery in early spring to buy green things, tools, and dirt.

I used to have a "black thumb". The only plant I'd ever owned was a sad little jade I had in college. Jade plants are succulents, like cacti; they don't require much water. I still managed to water it so infrequently that it died. When my then-fiance moved in with me nearly two years ago, we went to Ikea to purchase furniture, and we ended up also taking home a small orchid. The poor plant would have been better off remaining in the store. I think it lingered on for a few painful months before it finally, mercifully died on my dining table.

Starting in college, however, I started noticing springtime's arrival because of the appearance of the plants at Home Depot and such. Then, I started noticing that I was staring at the plants. Ogling them, if you will. Each spring, this weird feeling got stronger and stronger, until I realized that I was itching to plant green things in the dirt, black thumb and all.

Last spring, I finally gave in to my urge to plant things. I took a friend with a lovely garden to the nursery with me, and we purchased a lovely variety of flowers and herbs. She even helped me plant them. My whole crop nearly died during my stint on surgery, which coincided with the hottest months of the year, July-August (which are truly ungodly months here, trust me; the average high temp is 92 degrees). They rallied, however, and my basil plants grew to tremendous size; each was at least 3' high (above the ground). I took to calling it my "basil hedge". My lantana came back and bloomed in November (this place is strange). I found something called balloon flower that is just about my favorite flower ever. My little second story patio was a green, happy place.

Then "winter" came, it actually froze twice, and all my plants died.

For about 4 weeks now, the plants have been set out in dazzling array at the stores, and I have been begging my hubby to let me buy plants. He kept saying "it will get too cold, it will get too cold, wait a little bit." "Too cold" for someone raised here means below 60, apparently.

Today, I had the afternoon off with NOTHING to do. It was a glorious day, sunny, 81 degrees with a good cool breeze. I bought plants. I planted plants.

In one box, I put bell peppers, marigolds, and a rosemary; in the other box, I put basil, peppermint, and a luscious purple velvet petunia. Another petunia went in a hanging pot (and we actually got a rope with which to hang it from the ceiling!!!), and a special lavender went in its own little pot. I repotted the yucca palm my hubby got me last year.

My favorite, though, is the gorgeous red hibiscus plant I got for $10. It already has a few blooms, with many buds and thick green foliage. I think we get just enough sun that it will do well. Visiting my maternal grandparents over the years, one of the most striking memories I have is my grandfather's hibiscus. Since the blooms only last about a day, every morning he'd go outside and pick a new one, set it in a glass, and put it on the end table next to my grandmother's favorite seat. His were usually red, also.

I have been in the best mood all day, ever since I decided to get plants. There's nothing like getting dirt under your fingernails and up to your shoulders to put you in a good mood.

Here's to turning that black thumb green!


The Peanut Gallery said...

That sounds like a fun day. It's still probably too cool to plant here, so I will just have to be content with my terrarium. However, my daffodil bulbs I planted are coming to life already.

Tiny Surgeon said...

ooh, those are pretty!

Basia said...

a nice sterdy weed grew out of one of my dead plant boxes. we are so proud. and the fern hasnt died yet!

Maggie said...

Good luck with your plants. Why not try a tomato to go with your basil? You can get cherry ones that can be grown in a pot or hanging basket (though baskets tend to need regular watering). Nothing quite like home grown tomatoes! :-)

Let's have some photos when the plants have grown on. I tried a hibiscus a few years back, but our winters are too cold and it died after the first year.

There's something about getting plants to grow that is great fun, and even better when they're edible! ;-)

Best wishes from Liverpool (UK)

Cathy said...

Hibiscus are my favorite flower. Here in Ohio we don't see many of them. Each year for mother's day my son gets me a hugh planter of them.

I always say the blooms only last for about a day because anything that beautiful couldn't stay around for very long.