All around me I am starting to see signs of spring. Pink buds are showing up on my azaleas. The vines on my fence are producing a crop of pretty little yellow flowers and there is a tree in my backyard covered with beautiful purple blossoms. I don’t know what the tree or the vines are, as I tend to plant things and then never remember what kind of foliage I have. That’s because the items I plant are generally not around long enough for me to get attached to them. Put another way, I don’t have a green thumb. What I have is more along the lines of a black thumb. However, that doesn’t stop me from trying.
Every year I make my annual pilgrimage to the garden center—usually Lowes—where I methodically choose hundreds of dollars’ worth of vegetation to kill. I am somewhat surprised nobody recognizes me as the plant-murderess and throws me out. Then again, the more plants I murder, the more money I spend. I go up and down each aisle looking for something that thrives on bad soil and neglect. Sure, I have good intentions when I start out, but somewhere along the line my plants don’t get fed or watered unless it rains. Add to that the fact I really don’t know what I’m doing, like the time I planted all the beautiful sun-loving plants in the shade.
I look at the plants with the festive blooms. Nope, planted them a few years ago and they all died within two weeks. Ooh, that one looks pretty. No, wait, I’ve done that one, too. By now I can recognize just about everything that did not do well in my hands, which leaves me with little to choose from. Impatiens are fairly indestructible except when the dog decides to do her business in the flower bed and has to dig to China first. That doesn’t count as my fault. I even brought in the hanging pot of begonias the first two times the temperature dipped into the thirties this year and I managed to keep the cats from eating them. Unfortunately, on the third cold night I forgot, so there they sit on my porch, their droopy brown bodies a reminder of my failure. My husband says maybe they will resurrect, but I’m not hopeful.
I really should accept my limitations and give up. But all I know is I want a beautiful garden. Hiring an expert to help didn’t do any good. Regardless of explaining (twice) to two different lawn care services that I wanted them to take over and create a colorful masterpiece in my yard, all I got was someone who mowed the thriving weeds twice a month. So, as February turns into March and the sky is robin’s egg blue with wispy white clouds, the temperature is a balmy 72 degrees, and new plant life is everywhere (except my yard), I feel the draw to the garden store like a moth to the flame. I can’t fight it. The pull is just too strong—because I just know this time my efforts to plant and maintain a lovely flower garden will succeed. You do know the definition of insanity, right? Something about doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. But this time . . .