My guest blogger this week is “confessed plant killer” Emily Johnson. Read her story and tips to a green thumb—a delightful read about her experience with gardening.
Emily writes: I first strolled into gardening as a bright-eyed college freshman. My initial foray into botany surrounded succulents—plants that Pinterest cheerily promises are impossible to kill! However, I quickly proved to be a master murderer. Within my first week, I had tripped over the Echeveria four times and accidentally disemboweled half of my aloe. Miraculously surviving my initial onslaught, the plants were next subjected to a watering schedule that relied on blue moons. I was so hopeless, I under-watered my cacti.
Next, I pinned my hopes on hardy herbs, the beginning gardener’s closest friend. At first, the basil and mint thrived on my neglect; however, they underestimated my well-intentioned, consistent ineptitude. After a couple of weeks of sustained abuse, they shriveled and collapsed dramatically. Frustrated, I was strongly tempted to dump out my pots in surrender. But I remembered all the days as a girl spent weeding my grandmother’s tomatoes and tending her marigolds. She introduced me to the worlds of nurseries and zinnias, and shared with me the joy of cultivating life. Gardening with her was something unique between us, and I was determined to carry on her discipline.
A semester passed. My mint died and resurrected, and the Scottish heather drowned in root rot. My creeping jenny (which is technically a weed; I managed to kill a weed) nervously poked out new leaves. But gardening gave me more than a headache and a kill record. Especially during the most stressful weeks, my plants give me a sense of peace. Learning to nurture life has challenged my patience and consistency. The joy of watching things grow and knowing I helped is rejuvenating.
As I am living proof, anyone can keep plants alive. You just have to dig your fingers in some dirt and practice stubbornness as a discipline. Pick up a spade. Set up a watering schedule; for succulents, try once a week. For others, it’s about trial and error; just don’t let them sit in water or in California-dry soil. Be warned: you will kill plants. But if you persist, you just might grow some, too.