Monday, November 02, 2009

Spring And My Anti-Green Fingers

Some people have green fingers, I know my mum does. Unfortunately, I did not inherit those genes from her. In fact, I have what I call the anti-green fingers. Everything I attempt to grow, inevitably dies sooner or later. I've managed to kill hardy plants like cactus, usually by enthusiastic over-watering.

Thus I've developed what I think is an idiot-proof way of handling cacti. Not that I've gone out intentionally to buy more plants - just to end up killing them. But this cactus was 1 of 3 that I picked up just outside my first flat when someone was moving and left them out, together with a lovely jade plant which I've handed over to a friend when I went away for 3 weeks and never took it back since I figured it would thrive better in his courtyard.
But back to the cactus, there were 3 of them but now there are 2. I cannot remember exactly what befell the third as I've probably blocked the trauma out of my memory, but the last 2 have survived the last 3 years with me. My idiot-proof solution is to ignore them and not water them. For weeks. It seems to work. I water them when I remember that I haven't done so for a long time, especially when it hasn't rained for a while. So the other day I went out onto the sunny balcony and saw 2 furry grey nubs on the top of my cactus. I figured it was a sure sign of impending death. Something was growing on it, some fungus or parasite or something. So I did an act of kindness and fed it some water to send it on its last journey which I was pretty sure would be forthcoming.
Little did I expect the bigger of the 2 furry nubs to sprout open the following day and yellow petals could be seen. OMG, it's not a parasite, it's a flowering bud and it's started to flower in the sunny weather once I've watered it.
That was really amazing. And today, the bud has opened up into a lovely yellow flower with a red dot centre. Spring is truly here. I've not killed the cactus, but instead have helped ("nurture" would be going too far I think) it blossom.

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