Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life on The Farm 121010: Green Grim Reaper

Bare naked Xmas tree.

This week on the farm construction continues, mystery boxes are still arriving on the porch, a Christmas roast beast is on order, and gifts are languishing under the happy plastic LED tree waiting to be wrapped.

Instead of attending to that particular task, my husband Dan and I journeyed to the Saturday Burlington farmer’s market at Memorial Auditorium.  Along with mushrooms, purple potatoes, golden beets and some sage-colored dried beans, we came home with a solitary amaryllis. 

I think it got too cold on the way to the truck.
Some of you probably have an amaryllis right now or have received one in the past.  These flowering bulbs are associated with the wintery season just like poinsettias – but I have never purchased either, and there’s a reason why. 

At one time, I owned several varieties of Christmas cactuses and it was satisfying to see them flower over and over again. Then, I don’t know what happened; they all just kind of died.  I blamed it on the water, there’s just so much highly mineralized water a plant can take.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

I then killed a succession of miniature rose bushes, a lemon tree, a palm, spider plants, ornamental peppers, African violets, aloe vera, various culinary herbs that never really had a real chance, and a potted “live” Christmas tree (the saddest chucking out the door of all). 

I didn’t even purchase hanging baskets for the porch this year because last summer I could only keep them alive for two weeks.  I suspect that I have a serious gardening condition, “black-thumb”, though I can still blame the windy, rainy weather.

I feel guilt over the whole deal of caring for hothouse plants because they expire much sooner than if someone else had taken them home from the nursery.  I know this for a fact, because whenever I buy a hanging basket for my mom, it’s still flowering and flush the next time I visit, even if that’s months later.

Cut flowers are much less stress for me because they’re already dying.  There are no great expectations for longevity, no fertilizer applications, no protracted decline to watch - or blooms and branches falling to the ground every few days.  I should only ever be allowed to own dried flowers.  Just saying.

I watered the amaryllis this morning, then felt badly over the impulsivity of the act and quickly checked the internet - only to find I should be watering every other day or perhaps once a week, depending on which website will be holding my hand through this.

I feel a burden of responsibility to try and keep it alive as long as possible out of respect for the person who sold it to Dan; they had no clue that they were transferring stewardship over to his serial plant-killing wife.

It looks like it needs water.
Hours into day two, and it looks a little burned at the tips of the blossom end.  Like so many others before, it barely has a shot, but I think it wants to live.