Expectation management

In line at the floral department of the Mega-Hardware Emporium*, the man in front of me was buying a gorgeous plant – blasting a nearly blinding riot of pink-purple flowers.

daisyfae:  What is that?  It’s gorgeous!

him:  An azalea.  I’ve had pretty good luck with them…

daisyfae:  i love it, but have had no luck with perennials.  i’ve killed cacti.  Suffocated an air fern. 

him:  It’s mostly about location.  Find the right soil and they take care of themselves.

daisyfae:  i stick with annuals.  i know they’re going to die at the end of the season.  Since i know the outcome?  i’m not devastated when it happens…

* No, i did not stop by the paint department seeking that Studly PaintMan.  Thought about it, though…

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27 thoughts on “Expectation management

  1. I could never grow perennials either, until I moved someplace with no winter and 60+ inches of annual rain. Now I have trouble really killing anything green.

  2. Very sensible approach. The only perennials that can be trusted, in my view, are trees. And strawberries. The rest are highly suspect.

  3. Mrs Bastard has the green about her fingers, and the eye for foliage and flowers. Me.. I once grew mushrooms in a pot of yoghurt I left on the dashboard of my van.

  4. Ha! I immediately thought about the Studly Paintman when I saw you were at the DIY Emporium. I’m still mourning the dream of me having a green thumb … all those fantasies of me gardening, growing organic veggies, prancing through compost heaps … all just a ridiculous dream. I killed three varieties of basil last year. This year I’m sticking with oregano.

  5. I subscribe to Mr Noord’s G.O.D theory of plant growing. They must grow or die. Either way, you can abstain from having any actual responsibility. They clearlyl chose to die. Right? Right!

  6. savannah – i, too, am a consumer and not a farmer. and that is a MUCH funnier concept given that this post had very little to do with landscaping!

    chris – i did manage to get 3 hibiscus bushes to survive by keeping them in my bedroom all winter. i somehow made a stronger-than-usual committment to those. either because they cost a lot, or i thought them extra pretty. hard to tell… now? i’ll have to fight for their survival another season.

    texastrailerparktrash – i’ve made a concerted effort to maintain a few houseplants. with mixed results. like you, i’ve often had “stick in a pot”. love the moniker, and may have to use it…

    jon – welcome to the park, and thanks for stopping by! yes, trees count. in my prior home, i had mixed success with those as well. am trying raspberries, which are related to weeds, this year too.

    jimmy – mushrooms? certain varieties of those can be quite the cash crop in these parts… suspect your yoghurt-shrooms were unlikely to do much of anything other than make your truck smell funny…

    tNb – i share those ‘frolicing about in the garden’ fantasies. generally attempt to grow basil every year, and end up harvesting one batch big enough for a vat of pesto, and then it’s over… i’ll never frolic in my own garden. suppose the neighbors will have to get used to me…

    nursemyra – yellow gerber daisies in the pot, red geranium on the table. and tons of purple/lavender petunias and yellow snapdragons in my front garden. we’ll see…

    dolce – sadly? so do i. and this post had very little to do with my approach to gardening (sigh).

  7. well thank goodness your children made it to adulthood. Now make that girl work for the right to live there..put her in charge of keeping the plants alive. will be good experience when she decides to have children. I have no plants or flowers. am trying to spruce up the yard since we are selling the house. thank goodness I have an awesome neighbor to do my yard work.
    I’m lucky I remember to feed and water my dogs.

  8. ha! You sound like me. I almost always just stick to bushes because I kill flowers and I’m so sad when they die. Bushes survive the winter, too.

    Azaleas and hydrangeas are like weeds here in PHiladelphia. they grow in empty lots and in the darnest of places. You can’t kill them if you tried. I guess it has something to do with the dirt here. The dirt in the water and air, presumably.

  9. How I love plants! I don’t have a garden as such, but lots of plants in pots. I find it soothing to tend and watch them. I do have a slightly green thumb and get all excited over cuttings. I recently re-potted some things and mixed in some cow manure which worked like magic!

  10. FJ – murder rate? ouch. never calculated mine, but i’m sure i qualify as a serial plant killer…

    unbearable banishment – no, not twisted at all. good thing i stopped trying to bonsai them…

    stephanie – yes, i get particularly irritated when others make it seem so effortless…

    hisqueen – my daughter saved the hibiscus on my last trip, bringing them inside the night we had a frost warning. she gets major ‘daughter points’ for that one.

    lora – azalea are tough. funny thing? i discovered two reasonably healthy azalea bushes behind my condo after i wrote this. sneaky things. but then, i wasn’t the one who planted them, so they had an advantage over the ones i thought about buying…

    kyknoord – preparing for the inevitable is a learned skill. one success and i might be willing to try again, but it’s not in the cards. you there, mr. impatiens? sure, you’re pretty now. i’ll fuss over you a bit, but eventually? it’s over. you have til september and then you too will be dead to me…

    uncle keith – i’m in a condo. there are sufficient patches of dirt and grass in the front and back that have rekindled my interest. less intimidating than an entire half acre was… and the pic is from my upper patio deck. There’s a forest behind me, giving me amazing green-ness that makes me want to add more.

    syncopated eyeball – i’m trying some ‘container gardens’ this season. multiple plants all happily nesting in the same pot. shouldn’t work long term, but it’s lovely while it lasts… may have to try some manure. hadn’t thought of that.

    gnukid – not dead yet. just preparing myself for the inevitable…

  11. manuel – you bring up an excellent point! i start with some pretty impatiens and geraniums. soon? i tire of their firey red color and buy some sunny yellow daisies and purple petunias. i’m pretty good at tending many flowers, but have a limited attention span….

  12. My wife has a ‘green thumb’ but mine is mostly brown and tobacco-stained from my ‘all to frequent’ cigars.
    I will say that with enough fresh basil, I can make a ‘pesto’ that will bring you to your knees.
    Truth.

    M

  13. hisqueen – she’s a good kid. cooks, too!

    gnukid – of course. but the plant isn’t having a helluva lot of fun sitting there dormant. might be better under the care of a different gardener…

    ~m – the basil plants are for pesto. might bug you for a recipe when we harvest. i do just a basic pesto. ok, but nothing to write home about!

    renalfailure – ferns. it’s always the freakin’ ferns….

  14. Pingback: Don’t ask, don’t tell « the other side of the mountain

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