Who Wants a Green Thumb, Anyway?

Last week, I boughtwhat I thought was a really vibrant bunch of cut basil for $3 from our local co-op. (I do love me a good tomato-basil-mozzarella sandwich.) To my surprise and delight, though, when I got it home, I realized it was a whole living plant!

The long-suffering basil.

I killed my last basil.

Sort of, anyway. It was a passive death—I never pruned it, so it turned into a shrub, basically, with wooden branches and no leaves. It doesn’t seem to have survived the winter.

So I happily potted this new one. It was about 65-degrees out last Sunday, so I gleefully put the pot out on the balcony in the sunshine.

It snowed that night. Oops. I was quick enough to bring the baby plant inside, so it survived that first mishap. It wilted, of course, being confused at the multiple changes of scenery.

I nursed it back to life over the course of the week—and then forgot it during the next freeze.

It’s, um, not doing so great now. I pruned off the worst of the frostbite, and it’s living indoors until the weather stabilizes.

Meanwhile, I bought a “resistant” succulent that I can only kill by overwatering.

Will it continue to look so firm and perky?

We’ll see.

Okay, I’m really not that bad: I have a potted lilac bush that survived the winter and is budding out as we speak. My chives are healthy and returning from their winter nap, and if the mint died, that’s okay, because it was only half sweet mint and the regular stuff just doesn’t taste good in mojitos. (I have my priorities totally straight: can’t you tell?)

I should take my own advice, though. A friend once told me that she can never keep plants, and I said this: “Plants grow everywhere, all the time. Put them in the ground, make sure they have sunlight and water, and they’ll take care of the rest.”

She stared at me, then laughed and said, “I’m overthinking this, aren’t I?”

Probably. We’re all guilty of overanalyzing, obsessive worrying, and general compulsive head-behaviors.

What simple things have you over-thought, readers? How do you overcome the obsessive what-ifs? And how do you keep your freaking potted plants alive?

12 thoughts on “Who Wants a Green Thumb, Anyway?

  1. I am the scourge of the plant world. I killed my cactus. I don’t know how. I barely watered it. I also killed this beautiful little flowering shrub thing that a friend got me when I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner in Poland for 20 people a few years back. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to it.

    I’ve had two sticks of bamboo for about two years now and they’re alive…which is good. I also potted a rose vine that came with my Valentine’s bouquet from the spouse when it rooted in the vase…I’m feeding it Miracle Gro and keeping it on the balcony. It seems….okay?

    I have no idea what I’m doing. This little rose project is sort of an attempt to see if I can keep it going and see what happens. Maybe have a rose or two bloom. Maybe I should stick a dead fish in there.

    • The dead fish might help. I’ve killed all roses I’ve tried.

      I was as surprised as I was pleased to see that my lilac bush is still alive! It’s a miracle! A plant miracle!

  2. I think your basil and succulent look fine. I try to remember to water once every two weeks. I figured it it can’t survive that, then it is not meant to live in my household. The 2-week period is easy for me to keep track of, if I try once a week, then I over water stuff, longer and then I don’t remember at all.

    What do I over analyze? My blog posts and comments. Or the things I post on forums. After posting, I always come up with something clever to say or realize I wrote something asinine.

    • I think I over-mother my plants. I want them to grow so desperately, I give them much more love than they need.

      I’m bad at blog-commenting, too. That’s why I never do it.

  3. Don’t put the jade bush out! – if you think a freeze will wilt your basil, you’ll have mush with the succulent.

    I used to have a plant shop and the biggest problem (besides not giving plants enough light (direct sun for that basil) is people over-water their houseplants. The theory that “if a little is good, more will be better” does not work–just a thought.

    • No, I wouldn’t put the jade out! It has a happy window-sill home.

      I’ve finally come to accept the “more is not always more” rule with houseplants… Though my potted mint did tend to droop if I didn’t water it every day.

  4. I have a darwinian garden – I plant it, and if it lives, I say, Yay! If it’s fussy and expects actual care, well, when it dies I plan something else. That said, in August it’s hard to move through parts of my yard b/c things are so overgrown. And your mint will probably come back. It’s basically a weed.

  5. Ummm, yeah. I’ve killed cactus, ferns and everything in between. LOL…but I keep going back to the store to buy more plants to torture. Sigh…

    I do have ivy growing beautifully in my living room. Well it’s not growing really. It’s plastic. But it looks great! ;o)

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