Are You a Green Thumb or a Weed Thumb?

This is three “million bells” plants. Purple, I seem to recall. I bought them from a reputable nursery after the danger of frost had passed, repotted them promptly in fresh potting soil, and have watered them daily in their sunny location. What the hell’s the problem?! This is ridiculous. My next door neighbor’s million bells are beautiful. They are planted in the EXACT same pots and get the EXACT same angle of sunlight as mine. Hers are a lush cascade of color. Mine are, for all intents and purposes, dead. So, dump it out, laugh it off, right? No.

I have a genetic RIGHT to a green thumb. Even if it’s a recessive characteristic, like blue eyes, I. Should. Have it. My paternal grandfather: farmer. Yep, tobacco and cattle, with a fabulous vegetable garden every year to boot. Paternal grandmother: renowned gardener. One-acre yard filled with lush flowerbeds, pots of plants on the porch and in the house that grew faster than she could repot them. She’d throw plants cuttings in the creek and they’d wash up downstream, take root, and bloom profusely. Their child, my dad: farmer with his Master’s in Agricultural Engineering. Green thumb and brainy about it. I didn’t realize as a child that my mother ALSO had a green thumb. She wasn’t as interested in farming or gardening, but when she filled pots and beds with the obligatory petunias and geraniums they flourished. And when she found plants she enjoyed, like Red Hot Poker or Rhododendron – watch out, they’d grow and multiply like kudzu.

So what’s the deal? Why am I so horticulturally challenged? Thankfully, I married a city boy, so my failings are limited to plantings in our yard that he couldn’t identify anyway. My attempts at a vegetable garden made the neighborhood rabbits and squirrels snicker derisively. But I worry . . . have I passed this flaw on to my children? Will my boys someday try to grow grow tomatoes in their backyards or basil on their patio, only to be defeated time and time again? Should I warn them now? What if one of them wants to be a farmer? Not that this is likely, mind you. I love my children dearly but neither of them seems inclined to get up with the sun and work hard all day in the hot sun (unless it involves drumsticks).
Perhaps I should just go with my strengths in the garden. I have a lovely poke plant bed behind the garage, and the espaliered poison ivy in the side yard is quite impressive. Add in the ground cover daylilies and forsythia that I’ve used everything short of a nuclear weapon on unsuccessfully and I’ve got foliage, I’ve got color . . . I’ve got a Weed Thumb!
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5 thoughts on “Are You a Green Thumb or a Weed Thumb?”

  1. I can certainly understand. I came from the same family of farmers and long ago gave up on growing anything, including weeds. That is why I'm so in love with David who grows all my produce for me. Sorry, Randy grows the most beautiful tomatoes and peppers, plus anything else he plants. Yes, Randy, your brother. What happen to us?

  2. Yes, I was recalling Randy when I wrote the post. He also got the eyelashes and the hair. Honestly, who could doubt that God has a sens of humor?!

  3. Oh, dear. Do you take offense if I laugh??
    It's much needed today.
    I have no advice, since I don't even know which category I fall into ……

  4. A Weed Thumb. That's great! My husband gets all the credit for our wonderful garden. My contribution is saying which plants I would like… and he does the rest ;->

    Thanks so much for coming by my blog for the Virtual Girls Night Out! (Happens every Friday night)

    So-o-o-o-o happy to have "met" you!

    Happy VGNO!

  5. I am the only one in my family with a black thumb. Lol. They all garden and I just commit plant murder.Lol. Have a great weekend!

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