Thursday, 18 June 2009

Green Shoots of Recovery?

Not in my house, I’m afraid. Brown stumps of doom, more like. I was so relieved to see my neighbour’s car back home from holiday yesterday. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be able to be able to keep this poor vestige of a living thing, living.

Before he set off on holiday three weeks ago, Mr A (who I’m not going to name since it feels a bit disrespectful, and some people are more careful of their privacy than I am) came over with three tiny root cuttings which he’d lovingly nurtured into something that looked vaguely like independent life. Tiny stalks stood up proudly in what looked like better quality compost than I normally use, and the almost imperceptible first leaf buds were almost visible. Almost. Mr A looked pleased with this progress. Could I possibly look after them until he came back?

The trouble is, ever since the allotment book (which I’m not trying to plug in any way – although have you got your copy yet? I only mention this because I noticed they’ve only got two left in the shop and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out… ) people assume I know about plants. Well I’m afraid I don’t. Or rather, I do sort of know a bit about vegetable growing – in theory, at least – however I seem to be cursed with the polar opposite of green fingers and everything that comes within my reach, er, dies. Sorry to be blunt about it, but there really isn’t a more tactful way of putting it. My husband calls me the Plant Butcher of Great Somerford. And that's when he's being nice.

But somehow it seemed a bit churlish to say no.

I sat it on the windowsill, watered it whenever I remembered, even tried a spot of conversation occasionally. It started to whither almost immediately – virtually as soon as the sound of Mr A’s car disappearing down the lane faded away. Not enough sun, I wondered? Moved it to the south-facing kitchen window… a leaf promptly fell off. The days ticked by, any hint of green the plants had once had gradually dwindled away and, short of sticking it on a life-support machine I couldn’t realistically see a way of prolonging its life any further. Perhaps it was life, Jim, but it was certainly not as we know it. You can imagine my relief when I spotted Mr A’s car neatly parked back on his drive this morning.

I dashed round bearing the pot, the plants possibly performing their few last acts of photosythesis and rapped on the door. No answer. Rapped again, a bit louder. Still no answer. I really didn’t want to risk the twenty-yard dash back home – it was drizzling slightly and I wasn’t at all sure the plants were up to the journey. Finally, Mr A appeared at the door in his dressing gown, looking not best pleased. I’m not sure whether it was the sight of his beloved plants or the fact that I’d just got him out of the bath.

Had a good holiday? I ventured…

(Actually, I'm exaggerating as usual. 'Mr A' was actually very nice about it. I could tell he was a bit disappointed, though...)


  1. Oh my God! No one would ever leave their beloved plants to my un-tender care. I only have to look at a plant for it to shrivel up and die in front of my eyes. My advice? Just say no!

  2. Can you hear me cheering? Not because Mr A was a bit disappointed, but with sheer relief that it's not just me! Plants shrivel at the sight of me too, so that's you, me and Around My Kitchen Table not fit to enter a garden centre!

  3. I can do outdoor varieties but not indoor varieties. They simply attract dust, become furry, turn brown and die. I do have a nack with aloe vera but this is more to do with its natural ability to survive nuclear attack and sort out the burns and the mosquito bites and any other subsequent skin issues.