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As the weather warms here in Illinois, my mind turns towards all the beautiful flower beds and leafy plants I would love to see in my yard. But sadly, when I walk out my door I see beautifully planned out beds devoid of life.
Yes, folks, the sad truth of the matter is that despite the fact that I write about a character who nurtures plants without actually thinking about it, I am unable to get even the hardiest flowers to blossom. I have tried my hand at many different types of plants with only limited success. My rain garden, built where a poorly planned gutter slopes away from the downspout, is probably the healthiest plants I have, two turtle heads and a spiderwort. Other than that, almost every single plant that I brought home is gone. There is no trace of the purple pansies, the lush bed of impatiens (those things are harder to kill than weeds!), and only the fenced off bed shows my attempt at the lily garden. I had some limited success with coral bells, though there seems to be no rhyme or reason to which ones live and which ones don’t make it.
I don’t even know why the plants die for me. They seem healthy enough when I buy them. I get them from nurseries since they tend to be in better shape than the ones at the home improvement stores. I put in the necessary time tilling and preparing the soil. I truly love working in the hot sun and dirt, because there’s no more satisfying feeling than stepping back and admiring your work. So I’m not sure what it is about me that the plants find offensive.
With a heavy heart, last year I turned the tending of the remaining plants over to my husband. The daffodils came up this spring, along with the narcissi that I hadn’t seen since planting the bulbs three years ago. The coral bells that survived are spreading out, slowly taking over the spaces where their fallen comrades once sat. There even seems to be a shoot coming out of the lily garden. What has he done to get them to flourish? Honestly, not a thing. Maybe they’re just relieved to have my attention diverted to other things. And maybe now all the plants in the nursery won’t preemptively wilt when I walk in the door.
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