A gardener learns more in the mistakes than in the successes.
~ Barbara Dodge Borland
Who has learned to garden who did not at the same time learn to be patient?
~ H.L.V. Fletcher
Much to my Mom and Grandma's dismay, I did not inherit their green-thumb. I do not have a talent for gardening and all things related. I cannot name that rare gem in the flowerbed, though I will agree it's very pretty. I take pictures of flowers when I travel because my Mom and Grandma will be interested. I go shopping at green-houses with them for the quality time spent together, though I bore and tire much faster than they do. And when I receive a plant as a gift, in addition to the appreciation and desire for more greenery in my home, I feel an immediate sense of guilt knowing it will likely not survive me nor my plant-nibbling cat.
But I continue to try. Always hoping that eventually one plant will survive! I'll pay more attention to the instructions my Mom gives me. I'll do my best to remember when I've watered it last, and to notice when it may need more (or less) sunlight. I'll put it in a hard to reach place and shoo my cat away. Yes, each time I have the best of intentions...
My three success stories involve a cactus, a swamp-like plant that was most happy sitting in water (both of which went missing at some point), and a bonsai tree which seems to be tougher than dehydration, over-watering, and a pot-shattering fall from the window sill (though this is currently at my Mom's awaiting re-potting).
But I have lost track of the number of times the same spider plant has visited my Mom to be nursed back to health. Last time I just left it there.
My current attempt involves a jade. Apparently these plants are among the easiest to care for. They do not require direct sunlight, nor do they require much water. Very little in fact.
I over-watered it.
Not to be completely discouraged, this hearty plant stores water in it's leaves, so it was just the bottom that drowned, rotted and broke apart. I still have healthy green leaves on top. Phone call to Mom – how do I save it?
“Put it in wet soil & leave it alone.”
(Did I mention that I'm not a naturally patient person?)
A couple weeks later I tested it. No roots had started. I've watched my Mom put parts of a spider plant into a cup of water and roots started to grow. I'll try that!
A couple weeks later, the bottom is rotting in a cup of water. Yet I still have healthy green leaves on top! Another phone call to Mom – how do I save it?
“Put it in wet soil and leave it alone.”
Yeah, but I tried that already!
“It might take a long time.”
I know what you're thinking. This sounds like the perfect kind of plant for a non-green-thumb like myself. But did I mention that I'm not a naturally patient person?
Shortly after that last phone call with Mom, it dawned on me. This plant is like a lot of things in my life right now. They might take a long time to take root and actually start to grow – like months. And I will need to keep practising my patience in the mean-time. Not too much water, no direct sunlight.
Just put it in some wet soil and leave it alone.
Hopefully in a few months I might have a beautiful garden... or at least one little plant with the hint of roots! Maybe they've started to grow already. Maybe I should just go check...
(Did I mention that I'm not a naturally patient person?!)