Sunday, October 23, 2016

Meet Jane Domain: The Plant Killer

About six weeks ago I received a lovely pink orchid from some good friends. At least I think it was pink. It’s hard to remember now since there is not a single bloom left on the thing.

I’m Jane Domain. And I’m an Orchid Killer.

Admitting it is the first step, right?

But the thing is, I am a little shocked that it died so quickly. After all, I have managed to keep alive most of the indoor plants I’ve acquired in the four plus years we’ve lived here. I even just walked around my house counting them – 10 plants and an actual tree – all different varieties and sizes and shapes. 

Maybe they are all the kinds of plants that are nearly impossible to kill? Or maybe I was smart enough to buy Jane-proof plants. Or maybe they’re really plastic and I’m just fooling you. (They aren’t. Well, okay, so one is. But I didn’t count that one in my tally.)

Evidence. See?
Anyway, I carefully read the directions that came with the orchid. I was to place three ice cubes in the soil once a week. Alternatively, I could measure out a quarter cup of water to add to the soil for watering purposes. Apparently the latter direction is for those people who don’t own a freezer, an automatic ice maker or an ice-cube tray.

Or perhaps this instruction is written for people like me. Our automatic ice cube maker is on the fritz and our ice comes in bags from Kroger. By the time the bag gets thunked down onto the cement floor in the garage to break up the pieces of ice, the cubes are not uniform in size. Besides, what is the standard size piece of ice, anyway? I, for one, don’t know. And my concern was that I would either overwater or underwater my orchid. So, in an effort to be precise, I opted for the quarter cup of water thing.

Simple – right?  Oh, ha ha.

I chose Monday as my orchid-watering day. Fresh start of the week and all that. Plus, I figured I could remember to water it on Monday. By about Wednesday, all bets on plant watering are off.  So on that first Monday, the orchid seemed happy to receive its quarter cup of water.

By the second Monday as I started to water the orchid I noticed that several of the blooms on the left branch were drooping. So I had a little therapy sessions with my orchid. Told her to cheer up – that her quarter cup of water was here to save the day.

In response, several of the blossoms fell off onto the table. Yeah, that was not the response I was looking for.

So I picked up the orchid and put it on the counter closer to the kitchen window thinking that perhaps it needed a bit more light.

By the third Monday, after I put the quarter cup of water in the soil, the blossoms on the other branch looked wilted and unhappy.

And by the next day all but one of the flowers had fallen off.  And when I touched it, the last little blossom fell off the branch and onto the counter. Ack! I thought. I just killed my orchid!

My sister – who apparently has several happy, blooming orchids – told me to keep watering it; that it may bloom again. That perhaps it was just adjusting to its new environment.

Hunh. I’m beginning to think my orchid is being a little ungrateful. After all, I get out the measuring cup and everything. And I was talking to it and saying nice things.  AND it has taken up residence in prime real estate on the kitchen counter.

And this is the thanks I get?`

Nevertheless, I’ve continued to water the orchid for the past two weeks, but I haven’t seen any progress. It looks like I’m merely watering two sticks stuck in a pot of dirt. 

But the green thumb wannabe in me doesn’t yet want to admit defeat. So I’ll keep watering the orchid. I will keep hoping that one day I will see a little pink bud on its branches. And I will not accept defeat unless the leaves, too, wither and die. And only then will I put the orchid out of its misery.

So if this happens, do you think I will immediately go out and buy another orchid?  Nope, not a chance. Instead, I will then go out and buy a fake orchid. Its only requirement will be an occasional dusting.  Simple, right? Ha.

On second thought, maybe the best thing to do is leave well enough alone and simply bask in the glory of my ten living plants and one actual tree. My Monday watering schedule is kind of full and it doesn't leave a lot of time for plant dusting, too.