Anyone who knows me could probably guess (if not by experience then by my personality in general) that I shouldn't have house plants. The only reason I remember to feed my cat regularly is because he reminds me, loudly and often.
But plants are like fish in that neither of them can speak and that I have accidentally killed several of them.
Usually I can accept this but every so often I get in my head that I can handle caring for a delicate living thing and the end result is always the same: Little fish bodies in the toilet, tiny plant corpses in the trash, and a renewed sense of failure.
The last plant I had was a gift from my mother, who is one of those annoyingly nurturing people whose motherly essence alone can bring dying things, be they tulips or kittens, back from the brink. She claims it had no deeper meaning, but I still think it was a test to see if I really was a grown-up and whether or not there was any hope at all that I would one day be responsible enough to raise children.
I accepted the challenge with relish and purchased a cute pot and soil.
Pretty pink daisy: $0
Purple flower pot: $5.00
Potting soil: $8.00
Daisy food: $6.00
The overwhelming sense of failure both real and symbolic when aforementioned daisy dies within the week, either from too much water, not enough water, too much sunlight, or not enough sunlight: Priceless
So I should have known better, but last week when I walked into King Soopers I was greeted by a gorgeous display of pink and purple orchids which, in this colorless and dead winter with no snow, I felt emotionally and physically drawn too. The woman working the flower stand noticed me admiring them and mentioned how much she loved them too. In an effort to make conversation I told her that I had heard they were difficult to care for.
People with a natural ability to care for plants cannot and will not ever understand people like me. This woman was obviously one of these people.
"Oh no," She said....
"They are very easy" She said....
" I have six or seven of them and they are perfectly healthy" She said....
So I bought one because it was purple and matched my bedspread and would look just adorable on my nightstand.
At first glance this is an adorable picture. Please take another look. Notice the flowers are already wilting. Also notice the paper towels underneath the pot.
The paper towels are because I'm cheap and quickly discovered that plants are like children in that they are practically free but the things you need to keep them alive are ridiculously overpriced. Allow me to break this one down for you.
Flower Pot :$4.00
Orchid Bark: $9.00
Orchid Food: $8.00
Impending sense of doom as I watch said orchid slowly die despite hours of research and heroic attempts to keep it alive: Priceless
So price-wise it came down to the "food" or the drip pan for the pot and clearly I made the wrong choice.
Okay and seriously, why do flowers need food? No one's out feeding wild flowers and they do just fine, but Flower Lady insisted it was necessary.
I did have fun painting that adorable owl, which I did while Googling things like "How not to kill an orchid". I discovered they need humidity, which apparently isn't an issue for Flower Lady who must have like twelve humidifiers because Northern Colorado is straight up nosebleed country. I mean seriously even selling orchids here is just irresponsible. It's like sending a husky to the equator or a hairless cat to Canada- it's just cruel.
The internet was full of helpful advice which I have been following religiously. I move it to certain places depending on the sun, I even used plant-safe paint on the pot and followed a step-by-step transplanting tutorial. This plant hangs out in the bathroom while I shower for crying out loud.
But the thing just keeps on dying. It's on a kamikaze mission and no amount of love and attention can save it. Not even the kind of tender love and care that includes special plant steroids and Jack Johnson music softly playing in the background.
So if anyone has any advice, or just wants to offer condolences in advance, please do so.
And I'm sorry Mom but clearly the Universe is telling me I will never be responsible enough to keep a baby alive.