Springtime! The garden departments are overflowing with a variety of plant starts. From twenty varieties of tomatoes to flowers of every shade; a paradise of flora awaits.
I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. The scent of peat mixed with the delicate fragrance of flower blossoms create a euphoria that I’m unable to resist.
I drool over begonias, loading them into a plastic tray. My heart races at the vibrant pinks of Dianthus. Beads of sweat dot my upper lip as I brush my hands over the supposedly hardy geraniums. Giddiness overwhelms rational thought as I load multiple trays of beautiful starts into my cart.
Then, it happens. I never intend for it to, it just does.
Once home my true nature manifests. I am a cold-blooded plant killer – yes, a plant sadist. I try every year to make appealing arrangements like my neighbors. The outcome is always the same: They end up dead.
If they require full sun, they end up in shade. If they require shade, they get the full sun. If they require little water, I drown them. Those requiring lots of water shrivel immediately.
I spend hundreds of dollars to buy plants that will beautify our home, only to end up with dull lifeless carcasses. The remains of previous victims are scattered across our back patio as harbingers of the new plants eventual fate. My conscious efforts to nurture them are overruled by unconscious murderous tendencies.
If you could hear their little voices, there would be tiny little screams from my cart. I try – honestly, I do – to make them thrive. It only gives them false hope, putting off their inevitable fate. Eventually, they die. Not a quick death, but rather a slow tortuous agonizing demise.
Some people have a green thumb, mine’s black. The black thumb of death. I can’t seem to stop. I’ve killed cactus, ferns, various flowers, and even a mother-in-laws-tongue. Someone told me they would never die, even if you neglected them forever. It took a while, but I killed them.
Ironically, I can grow a vegetable garden. If I can get them in the ground, they stand a fair chance of survival. But then there are the horn worms, aphids, and squash bugs vying for their lives. Eventually, the stress wears them down, and they surrender to the gaping maw of death that taunts their very existence.
My husband spotted the trays in the shopping cart and pleaded to stop the senseless brutality; to give the poor plants a chance and put them back. I conceded when I spotted two bright pink azalea bushes that were beckoning.
I needed something to replace the dead viburnum at the end of the driveway. As I placed the trays back on the shelves, they seemed to be drooping. Maybe it was just my imagination.
As we paid the cashier, my husband asked if she could hear the screaming.
Oh, the horror!