Charlie and Friends

When I was pregnant for my first child, my family and friends were somewhat…well,….concerned. I showed no knack for nuturing. In fact, to be blunt, death seemed to follow in my wake. Put me in charge of nuturing, and—wilting leaves, yellowing stems, brown petals.

Plants committed suicide while left in my care. Seriously–I talked to them, played Mozart, watered them (or didn’t, depending on what I thought was needed…if I thought of the plant, that is). I contend that much of this wasn’t my fault.

For instance, consider the case of Charlie, the Norfolk pine tree I got about 8 years ago. A hale, green, festive little tree. I planned on putting it in my family room with a few lights, making the family room jolly (the massive Christmas tree was in the living room).  I bought it early, planning ahead. A few days after I brought it in the house, it started looking peaked–drooping a bit. I watered it. It started looking brown. I quit watering it.

The tale gets sordid from there, involving duplicity and broken dreams–and a second tree dying a lonely death as Charlie I’s proxy. Much later, I found out something that I never would have guessed: some evergreen trees are not outdoors trees. Go figure…

I’d left Charlie, and Charlie II, outdoors in the winter, never dreaming that I’d frozen them to death. I’m still haunted by the image of their whispered, husky voices asking for heat.

But it’s time to redefine myself, so I’m starting by channeling my inner Tom Bombadill. For quite a few years, I’ve had these two plants–a spider plant that my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day, and this other plant that I’ve heard called a snake plant.  (Note: The pictures of them didn’t import from my old blog, but they looked good.)

See how green and healthy they seem? I’ve gotten brave, so in the last few months, I’ve expanded my indoor greenry: a bamboo (I’d killed one in the last year, so this is penance), a Christmas cactus, a Yucca Cane, and—ta da–another Norfolk Pine. I want a rubber tree plant, and maybe an aloe, then I’m done. I will have proved my nuturing skills if none of them go to the great garden in the sky for a long time.

We’ll see about that, though–I realized yesterday that Charlie’s home, a place in my kitchen between the oven and the register, might have accounted for a couple twigs on my floor…I would free him out into the wild, but I know how that would turn out.

Note: 9 years later, Charlie is alive and well and taller than me.