My Greener Thumb

Graphic by Nellieanna
Graphic by Nellieanna



I wrote this as January neared its close, reflecting on my 2011 New Year's resolution to introduce live plants to my living quarters and thereby improve the air, as they inhale CO2 and exhale O2. My diligence was happily coming to fruition, I'm happy to report! (Though not without some degree of difficulty at first!, I admit!)




Now, February is underway - with a vengeance! Winter is upon my city! But after I wrote and assembled this, I acquired and am nurturing some more greenery, all doing well, properly named and spoken to regularly! I haven't taken their pictures yet. I didn't realize I hadn't published this, and decided I'd better just take the plunge now, if ever. Even writing about plants turns my writing thumb brown to match my regular brown thumb, it seems!  Oh, for some green spray paint!

Photo & graphics by Nellieanna
Photo & graphics by Nellieanna | Source



For example, I must confess that I nearly killed this Spathiphyllum, shown here after being snatched from the dead! No, no, I didn't paint the plant green. My thumb began to turn a bit more "khaki".

I've since named her Claudia and I talk to her sweetly as she favors my kitchen cabinet with her glossy leaves, many of which have raised from fully bent to the floor.

Now many of those have perked back up;  glossy new leaves have sprouted and unfolded since her resurrection, too!  We are becoming pals.

But I must backtrack a bit and tell how the disaster happened.

Claudia

Photo & graphics by Nellieanna
Photo & graphics by Nellieanna | Source


By the way, I didn't think to - and wouldn't have liked to - take a picture of the poor thing when I happened to raise my eyes from my laptop and Hubs, to cast a glance over and find that my pretty bushy new plant was drooping.  It was too painful to immortalize.

You see, I'd brought it home from the grocery store in fine, glossy, perky condition. Now it was worse than an old cut flower after a couple of weeks of pampering and TLC, when it finally has no more to give.  I suppose I expected at least as much from this living plant as from countless bouquets of fresh flowers I've bought and cared for, lo, these many years.

Any bunch of lilies would be shamed to have wilted this quickly, thought I!  But my pity for the poor thing far outweighed my disgust and despair.

Granted, I was horrified at the pitiable sight it had become. its limp leaves drooped all the way down to the surface on which the plant rested, pathetically still in its tacky plastic pot with matted roots crowded into it and icky shiny foil wrapped around it, -no doubt a marketing trick to make it look worth the $15 price tag!  

But here in my den it now looked like sad carrot tops lying limp after being pulled from the ground; a fish out of water - and I'd watered the thing, too! Oh Yes! I'd FED it too!  I must have drowned the poor thing!

Now, though, I gasped! After all, it was here to provide more oxygen, not to wither from temperament after a day or two! This was to have been a mutually beneficial relationship! So what was this chlorophyll betrayal all about?  Or was it vice-versa?  The possibility took shape.

Older hardy plant friends

Photo & graphics by Nellieanna
Photo & graphics by Nellieanna | Source

Even on a constant diet of neglect, some "old plant friends" have survived in one kitchen windowsill, sustaining their lives under the most sparse conditions for many a year. One was in this house when I moved into it twenty-five years ago, in fact.  Let's see.  That was 25 years ago!  It's been a case of survival of the fittest, because that one, nearest in the picture, was one of many withering on a stand when I moved in.  The others there on the sill have nearly as long histories, though perhaps with more propitious starts in life here.

I had them all trained to expect very little if they intended to survive; they would need to use all their best wiles to remain succulent or air-plant-sustained, - whatever it took to withstand long periods of denial followed by drenching deluges! I was aware that this treatment was not optimum but was the situation demanded by our own schedule when we were away for long intervals and no one to tend them. I trained them - or they learned to - survive the extremes which were their lot. And they've shown their mettle, as this photo shows - though it's after they received my recent efforts at better horticultural care.



Graphic by Nellieanna
Graphic by Nellieanna

Mind you, I come from a mother who could stick half a dead leaf in some dirt and it would sprout and grow.

My dad could plant endless feilds of alfalfa and other beneficial crops and they would flourish.

I won't say I have always consistently had either a brown or a green thumb. I've co-authored some impressive gardens and nourished some house plants successfully.

But plants are so DEMANDING, and I haven't always had time or inclination to meet their demands. They are like pets who never purr or lick one's face, but must be tended and coddled just the same.

But I decided to read the cursive "instructions" on the inserted label in the pot. Instinctively I had placed the plastic pot into another pot in which I figured excess water could drain so the roots wouldn't be standing in it. What I was to learn was that even water below not touching the pot would produce too much humidity for this plant I had watered a bit daily and obviously it was drowning. The instructions were to soak the soil and allow it to drain fully - elsewhere and then no more water till the soil feels dry. And, touching the soil, I discovered it to hard and tight. I reasoned that its roots were surely much too crowded into a pot much smaller than needed. So I vowed to get some potting soil and a more commodious pot for repotting it.


In fact, there were some clay pots on the patio - unkempt, of course, from lengthy exposure to weather and falling leaves. So I scrubbed one, along with its saucer and set out to Home Depot for getting some potting soil. I'd also scrubbed the "old friends's" pots in order to also surprise and repot them!

Indeed I was feeling quite committed to my New Year's Resolution now!

Dallas had been having quite cold weather but that afternoon the Fates were with me. It seemed a bit milder so, with my plants, clean pots and bag of potting soil, I braved it to do the deeds.

Repotting duty

Photo & graphics by Nellieanna
Photo & graphics by Nellieanna | Source

Stay tuned for a bit more about more plants and our Winter Wonderland in progress!

More by this Author


67 comments

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

This story was delightful from the ground-up,Nellieanna.;)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Mentalist - I am delighted that you like it! Thank you - and thank you for the quick visit and response! Today I am looking out at thick snow out there on that same patio!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Lovely piece. The only thing I grow now are marigolds. They are hardy enough to withstand my neglect!


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

Hi, Nellieanna...I enjoyed reading about your experiences with houseplants. How lovely to not only talk to your plants, but to name them as well! Perhaps my own efforts at sustaining life and encouraging growth in plants will fare better if I name my plants....Ah! Wouldn't I love to have the proverbial green thumb?

I especially loved your phrase, "I had them all trained to expect very little if they intended to survive...." That is the environment in which my current houseplants live (or die).

Enjoyed this one so much! JAYE


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

breakfastpop - lol. Well, marigolds are healthy "herbs" too - used in natural skin care stuff, in healthy herb tea - all sorts of good stuff. I was into an herb garden for awhile years back and it was fun to see how they really fulfilled their promise.

Do you know the flowering plant, lantana? They are very hardy and so pretty. Similar in a way to marigolds, except each blossom is made up of rings of very little blossoms. Some have inner rings of yellow surrounded by outer frames of orange, some rows deepening into rust. Some mix those colors with pink and lavender. They really are lovely - and very hardy, don't mind being neglected at all - they thrive on it. Any kind of rocky ground will do.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

haha, Jaye!! Now I have, in addition to Claudia, - her twin, Avalon. But Avalon has never proven her mettle like Claudia. She came in healthy and I was aware of her needs enough to preserve that. She's never drooped or stooped once! Hence, my heart belongs to Claudia for her courage and green guts! ;->

There is also a Camille, an Adonis, a Janet and some named for family members because of actual history. I've taken some more photos but there are so many things going on. Not sure I'll get them edited and organized.

Claudia, by the way, seems to be putting forth some sort of long, almost leaflike buds, but they are whitish and seem to have a hard kernel inside, like seeds of some kind. I am watching carefully to see what they will actually become -- and encouraging her all I can, in case she is somehow giving birth. LOL

Honestly - between talking to the plants and yelling at the squirrels in the attic, if anyone overheard me, I'd probably be hauled off in a white van, wearing an unfashionable & unbecoming garment with sleeves that tie in back! LOL.

And you've reminded me that these green friends I'm lavishing with so much TLC, had just better come through or they may end up struggling to survive like so many before them! If TLC doesn't work, I'm up to administering Tough Love! (Also - I'm fully expecting my stuffy nose to breathe better with all the oxygen they're suppose to be supplying! Otherwise, I could sue for false advertising!)

I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this foolishness! :-} Thank you!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

I love it, gave me a huge smile. I too almost let one of my plants die. Funny how I said let it... bad brown thumb... I love plants and am now attentive to mine over the winter. So glad the ground hog did not see his shawdow. I have a huge hanging plant that longs to go back outside. Thank you for the delightful read and I love the picture at the end! Your beautiful! :) Katie


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I knew I was going to be in for another treat with your hub on plants. I was smiling and chuckling at your experiences and the admiring the creative way which you mix the photos, poetry, and graphics; very pretty to look at.

You know, I am going to do what you are doing, commit to filling our house with plants this year, we have some half dead ones, and its not very visually pleasant. Problem is neither Phil, (my mate) or I have a green thumb, wish I could acquire one! We however, have a back garden where Phil brought ferns and little plants here and there from Mt Hood years ago before I moved in, and he does not do anything to the garden, lets the plants grow wild, as there are water fountains and sprinklers. In the summer it looks like an enchanted forest with a mixture of plants, flowers and foliage, and ferns are the height of a small tree.Seems plants do better when we let nature take care of them.LOL!

Voted up! Very pretty hub and a good focus for me this year as far as creating a prettier space in our home is concerned.


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

Came over from sligobay's hub and would like to wish a Happy birthday to a wonderful lady. "Happy Birthday Nellieanna"

I think your green thumb extends beyond the growing of plants.The caring and nurturing of friendship that sligobay pay tribute to have touch many here at hubpages including mines and I thank you.


Joshua Kell profile image

Joshua Kell 5 years ago from Arizona

Great stuff. Yes...plants need lots of love. As does every creature in possession of physical animation...and I suppose some inanimate life forms do also, apparently. Thanks.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

haha - Katie - it's a challenge. I love 'em too - but they are almost more trouble than pets. They don't bark or meow when they need attention, they just quietly droop and turn brown. So one is totally responsible for them. I have loved having geraniums outside but really haven't been a big outdoor-indoor plants person. I'd just like to get a garden going! There is a wonderful japonica bush outside my kitchen window which gives me pleasure every year when it is covered with coral-colored blossoms. In fact it is covered with buds now. It is very cold-tolerant and begins to bud in late January. If it freezes (and surely this siege may do it) - it just comes back again. Also there are some volunteer lilies which usually spring up all around the back yard as soon as it gets warm.

:-) aw - thank you - as you can tell, it was no glamour shot! I had on my Juicy Couture furry earmuffs but I'd just grabbed a (Dallas Cowboys) windbreaker over my sweatshirt, since it was a lot chillier than I counted on. The wind chill was in the 20s. But it was fun to get those old plants smiling and Claudia back on the road to recovery. She's a temperamental plant though. The slightest "too" - too dry or too wet and she'll droop. I have her where I can't miss her signals - right in front of my vision when I wash dishes!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Yes ma'am! Very delightful! Thank you Nellieanna!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

VioletSun - What nice compliments! Thank you! It's tough to love plants but not have a green thumb - and often, not the time. When we were spending half of every year at the ranch, our gardening,- inside and out - just went to pot (excuse the feeble pun!)

I love the idea of a "wild" yard garden. I can imagine how lovely it is with the fountains and all. I learned that there was something to be said for "neglect" when we were away so much. Then at the ranch, we had a century plant - well, several. One was in a pot and so it was neglected when we were in Dallas, but it survived. The one outside got "watered" by drops of moisture that condensed on the roof of an overhead awning (used to be over the pad where sheep were sheared when my Dad was still ranching) and the thing grew high as the roof itself which is about 17 feet high! But on my last visit there, something (or some vandal) had killed it and it was a pile of dead fronds. I am hoping some of its "babies" will survive and grow again. That's how they propagate. There are always little "starts" under the parent plant. We planted that big one in about 1990. They're amazing. One of my nearly "orphan" old plants on my windowsill is a little century plant. (at the far end in the picture of "Old Friends". The one nearest was here when I moved in after we married. It had belonged to George's wife who died the previous summer. I don't know how long she had it, but I've had it for 25 years! It survived the neglect of the years we were at the ranch so much. the plant in the middle is what remains of the original jade plant George nurtured. It grew so tall it broke off. I have two pieces of the broken top growing, one is still in water and the other is one of the newly potted plants. They're in another windowsill.

Thank you for coming by and enjoying my efforts. They're replacing my silk plants gradually - LOL..


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Silent Reed - you are too kind! I get more than I give here. Hubbers are warm and caring folks! You are a living example! Thank you for the birthday well-wishes. It was - and still is! Was to be taken to lunch as part of it today -but the snow and ice scared me a bit, so we are postponing it till next weekend and crossing our fingers, since another winter deluge is possible toward the end of next week. Ugh. This is NOT typical here! George Jr was willing to risk it but I chickened-out.

Thank you for your lovely comments!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Joshua - I am especially happy that you visited my hub. Yes - all living things are sensitive. And let's not slight plants! If one sees a speeded up sequence of a plant's activities, it's obvious they are also animate, but at a slower pace! :-)

I was curious about the word "animate". It seems to suggest being a characteristic of animals. But it applies to any kind of action of life-like progress, I guess. Here's what the dictionary says - and it s rather thrilling, when one stops to think about it! I sense that YOU will appreciate it. There is so much to appreciate and to value.

animate

verb |?an??m?t| [ trans. ]

1 chiefly figurative bring to life : the desert is like a line drawing waiting to be animated with color.

• give inspiration, encouragement, or renewed vigor to : she has animated the nation with a sense of political direction.

See note at quicken .

2 (usu. be animated) give (a movie or character) the appearance of movement using animation techniques.

adjective |-mit|

alive or having life (often as a contrast with inanimate ): : all of creation, animate and inanimate.

• lively and active : party photos of animate socialites.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank YOU, Micky. I'm delighted that you came by and enjoyed it! Hugs!


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

If we look after the plants, they'll look after us.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

Nellieanna,

My Mother is one of the green thumbed, her garden in England is a work of art and she has now reached the point where she can no longer enter things in the village flower show after winning so many times.

An honest lady to her core, her only vice is to visit stately homes, tour gardens, and take little cuttings back in her handbag...

Fun hub.

C


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

amillar - I so completely agree. Our planet is designed so that animal and vegetative life are mutually interdependent. It might even be said that it's within that relationship that the atmosphere and biosphere of Earth are constantly replenished, so that the essentials don't just "run out" or be "used up". Thank you for that very good reminder - and for your visit to my hub!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

ChrisL! Your Mother sounds delightful. Mine was inclined to snip a cutting here and there, too. In fact, my George did the same little sin. I must admit I am often tempted, but then - I don't have the green thumb to be sure it is not all in vain if I did it. There is strong likelihood that they'd just shrivel up in my handbag and die a terrible death, so that to my sin of pilferage would be added that of planticide. :-{ . . . . ;->


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Plants should be beating a path to get to your door Nellieanna. But if they are moving, dont let them in. That will be the triffids.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I love your tale of your pot plants, in fact you have taught me something too! I have had a plant on my kitchen window ledge since 2003 and it seems to have had a life of it's own, but since putting inside another pot with a bit more compost, it seems to have wilted somewhat, now I know why! so thank you so much for your information and investigation! lol and I also love your photo's, take care nell

Oh forgot to say, belated Happy Birthday!


Tinsky profile image

Tinsky 5 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

Hi Nellieanna, I am looking forward to reading more of your winter wonderland updates. I can certainly relate to your experience. Claudia looks quite healthy now though and I am sure she is grateful to have you as her friend!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, Christopheranton -- thank you, both for the compliment and for the warning! No triffids will get past my security system, I assure you, especially now I'm more aware of their possible assault. The relatively docile resident plants already here are challenge enough - and they know their places! Possessive green monsters! hehe Hugs.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Nell -- wow. I'm sure your plant will learn to appreciate your TLC, but if it is truly out of balance with its needs, the poor baby has to let you know. The only "voice" is has is silently to wilt and hang down or to perk up and reach up - and then to trust to be noticed. Glad my own sad experience helped you! Thank you for the comment and the Birthday well wishes. I love being able to stretch it out! hehe.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Tinksky - thank you, dear. Claudia is responsive, for sure. I guess her near-death experience has give her greater sensitivity. (either that or she's just plain spoiled rotten!) hehe. But I think she's grateful for the attention and I definitely enjoy her beautiful glossy foliage. I believe the plants are improving the oxygen level in here, too!


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Oh we love our plants and when one doesn't make it, it's like losing a pet, it can be disheartening, especially when we've showered it with so much tender loving care. I believe they do respond to our good intentions!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Somehow, they seem to, FL. They are "alive" even though they have no animal nervous system like ours & other animals. They are quite complicated and they do respond to various stimuli, so why not to kindness expressed by tone of voice, touch or TLC? Anyway - it's fun to sort of think they do! Thanks for the comments!


Erin LeFey profile image

Erin LeFey 5 years ago from Maryland

nellieanna, you have inspired me. I am guilty of the same neglect of my houseplants. they need proper repotting and i should get to know them better. What a wonderful article! My green thumb has faded, I need to get some circulation to it again. I suppose left over bottled water and some morning chat just isn't enough. Voted you up! Namaste.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Erin - Good for you! The green friends give as much as they get. So it's worth it. My little "family" of plants seem grateful and full of love. I am leaning their little eccentricities as I go. They are all pretty hardly except Claudia. She has a more delicate constitution since being nearly wilted and left for dead. But I am keeping a wary eye on each of them. They're all individuals! :-)

Thanks for the great feedback!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Oh, Nellieanna, this is another of your wonderful hub and a joy to read. Thank you so much for your delightful stories. I love plants but wouldn't know one of their name, It just doesn't clicke with me.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

I'm ever so pleased that you enjoyed it, hello, hello! As to their names - the technical ones, I copied right off the label that came with the plants when I bought them. I gave them their "given" names myself - named them as my "babies". LOL It makes it more fun when I talk to them and tell them they are pretty and that I'm proud of them. hehe

Thanks for your visit!


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

i loved the little poem, and the writing style of it, what is that called? i shall try to write a poem like that.


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Alas and Alack you have come across something else I can't do, indoor plants and I are things best kept apart for the safety of the poor plant.

I did grow some bean sprouts on wet blotting paper as a school project but I dreaded long school vacations when volunteers were required to take care of the school’s flora and fauna for the duration.

I have vague memories of being put in charge of the tomatoes, being grown from seed, and they were doing well until we went on a family trip of about a week or so. My father assured me that as long as they had access to enough water they would be fine. So I left them on a well soaked towel, one of my mother’s finest fluffy Egyptian Cotton ones, in the bath with an extra splash of potash and liquid tomato food, just for good measure.

They survived, perhaps too well because when we arrived home the stupid things had shot up about three feet and fallen over. I had to start all over with new seeds Etc. Oh yes and try and come up with a good excuse as to why the plants I took back to school were four inches shorter than they were at the start of the vacation !


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Nikki - I honestly don't know what the style of that poem is called. I just wrote what my head thought as I actually was looking at a pitiful garden I'd planted. LOL. It is one of very few of my poems with a sort of "sing-song" rhythm. I think of little ditties we sang as kids when I recite it aloud. It sort of sounds like that or a jingle for a advertisement. Try reciting it aloud and you'll see what I mean. My head almost has to rock from side to side in tune with it. LOL.

Glad you enjoyed it. Hugs.


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

ooh, it might just be a type of rhythmic poem or lyrical idk, but its probably something. the way the first 2 lines of each stanza rhyme and the last line of each stanza rhyme with each other. i kno they have one where rhyme a, b, a, b and then cc i forgot wat thats called. shakespeare used that style a lot. ah i miss school sometimes, if only for the english and writing classes.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah Merlin. Well - I can empathize. My mother with her green thumb tried to encourage her little Nellieanna and her lack thereof. But I once grew a columbine for a school project. That was a moment of triumph. But anything I planted in the ground was bound to a swift demise.

I love your account of your own experiences. That tomato incident is hilarious! And your mother must have been beside herself when you confiscated her best towels for a bed for the plants! wow!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Nikki I am such a spontaneous poet, I don't think much about the format. It either just pours out as it is or I might change a word somewhere into another which said what I mean in a more musical or rhyming way. But normally as I write, those things pour forth. I'm not a deliberate poet. When I "try" - I usually write garbage. I can't quite explain it. Poetry just "comes to me" - or it doesn't.

Oh, I can go with an idea or a plan and pen some lines, - but that inevitably lacks what I value in poetry (music & spirit) and has what I don't like - (obvious effort & triteness). So I'm not a lot of help. I say just WRITE. Listen to your innards and let them speak through your vocabulary and mastery of the language.


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

'Tis a wonder to me I have any Butt left, there were so many out there that seemed to want a bit of it... or to hit it.. kick it...

I owe my entire survival to sheer speed and quick thinking.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

haha - funny man! I can just see you dodging whacks on it!


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

My parents both have amazing green thumbs, their vege garden has kept myself and my family in fresh produce for many years. Alas, I haven't been blessed with such traits but I do have some indoor plants. I think they do well because our home has lots of natural light and I only buy the hardiest plants available LOL.

Anyway, Nellieanna, enjoy your plants as even if they don't survive, looking after them is actually good therapy. Not that you need that of course!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

MPG - thank you! That's a good policy - hardy plants. My house is not blessed with a lot of light. Not a lot of windows, and most of them are placed high in the wall. So I have to look for plants that prefer "low light" and they are not necessarily the tougher ones. Claudia continues to be temperamental. But I'm encouraged. The others are all doing well enough.

But what you say is quite true! The caring for the is good for one's soul. For years I've had and pampered cut flowers, knowing they can last, at most, for a couple of weeks. These plants are much more lasting and certainly not as expensive. Even if they don't survive indefinitely, it is not the end of the world! And I'm learning more about caring for them. I'm more sensitive to their needs. That has value!

Thank you for the visit and encouragement! It's great to have those fresh veggies!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

Nellieanna, I can't tell you how many House Plants I have killed with Love...they used to shrivel up when they saw me coming with the watering can and plant food...Now I've learned Neglect is always best! Lovely Poem and pictures. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to following you. I'd be honored if you join me as well.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

b. Malin - haha - that is so terribly true! My silly Claudia was slumping again. I didn't know if from too much or too little of whatever. Decided - what the heck - and drenched her and let the excess drain fully and she seems to have perked up a little.

I used to say that "if it has 4 legs, it is a lot of trouble". Now I'm revising it. "If it has chlorophyll, it is trouble"…. lol.

Thanks for the kind comments and visit to my hub! And thank you for the follow!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

I have always enjoyed flowers and plants. I have a huge cactus that begs me for water once a month, if I over feed her she surely will dry up, less water required for the cactus for sure. The other 3 potted plants I feed regularly and are hearty as long as I give them lots of TLC and sunshine.

I know of many people who have green thumbs I have great respect for them. I guess now Nellieanna with the weather you've had the past week, one must be careful of the frost not to kill the plants?

I am so happy to read that you call them by name and you talk to them, that has been a proven medicinal thing to do for plants, they also keep you company, just like your stuffed animals, he he he.

Thank you for sharing your green thumb with us, I could just see you tending to them and what a lovely picture you added of yourself looking spiffy in jeans and earmuffs, lol that tells me that the winter chill is in the air even in TEXAS.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Right about cactus, Ken. They are succulents and store water in their leaves, since they are desert plants and used to getting is only occasionally and/or taking it from the air. There are some at the ranch which flourish from condensation that comes off the high "awning" roof around the old shearing pad.

My plants are all house plants, so they are not getting the icy weather, though some are on a window sill what stays pretty cold. They are the old friends who have learned to survive in spite of deprivation - LOL.

Yes they are company - or at least - a responsibility. hehe. The stuffed animals are less trouble! The two main ones are Ludwig, my music taskmaster who reminds me to practice and smiles no matter how well or badly I play - - and StrawBeary who is my poohbear I use for a pillow. They are both useful.

Actuallly those are blue sweats, not jeans. But it was before it got so cold. We had almost 5 days with very low temperatures and never above freezing and a layer of ice covered with about 5 inches of snow. It is still chilly but has been above freezing enough to thaw the ice & snow for a couple of days but tomorrow night it is to start with the freezing rain & sleet again and then snow again all day Wednesday. Very cold Thursday. Only hope is that it won't last as long this time. The way our roads and streets are - stacked several deep with steep overpasses, etc. and that we aren't too used to driving on slick ice, it was a mess. One day there were 12 18-wheelers jackknifed across a section of Interstate in the city - on both sides of it in one location! Of course - other places with cars slipped off the side and crossways across the thoroughfare. We were hosting the SuperBowl Sunday and all the visitors came from Green Bay and Pittsburg thinking it was going to be a balmy vacation! Some said they packed mostly shorts!


azure_sky profile image

azure_sky 5 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

Such an enjoyable hub, Nellieanna :) Oh! The trials and tribulations that go along with having these guests live in your home! You are doing a wonderful job!!! I cannot wait to read more about your New Year's Resolution progress! You do realize that Spring will be here shortly, and you will rejoice in all of your hard work :) They will THRIVE under your care! Carry on, Dear Lady, carry on!!!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

Naming ones houseplants is a joyous thing Nellieanna! I enjoyed your story so much that it makes me desire adding more to my indoor jungle. Although naming them may prove to be a daunting task, as the number is quite large. Your poem "Brown Thumb" from 1967 is outstanding. Thank you very much for sharing another interesting bit of your life with us. Up and awesome.

K9


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

azure_sky - My life has changed, indeed! LOL. I seem to spend more time over them than I'd have expected. And our Texas has been under a cold assault, so those in windows seem in need of special warmth. But we're all doing well. They do return so much! I'm pleased. And thank YOU for the encouraging words!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

K9 - thank you too, dear lady! Even my few to be named are rather daunting - and then to remember each name! It wouldn't do to call them wrongly. That might cause them to wilt in shame! hehe. I'm so pleased you visited.


Loveslove profile image

Loveslove 5 years ago from England

Once again a delightful read....I seem to kill off plants im not sure if its because I water them too much or completely forget to water at all... !!

I like plants and occacsionaly buy a reduced wilting plant in the supermarket..you know the sort ''reduced for quick sale'' OR ''Past its sell by date''.

About 3 months ago our local Focus store had a shelf of strange looking plants REDUCED ( my favourite word ) they had a sort of pale lilac flower at the top and had been marked down to just £1 from £8 well,I couldnt resist,I picked the best one and decided that at that price if it died in a few weeks I had given it a good chance and had pleasure from trying to resusitate it...Im happy to say its thriving !! The bathroom window sill seems to be its haven.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Loveslove - I understand. They can be so long-suffering at times and then at others, they just punish us for our over-care or under-care. That is wonderful about your bargain plant doing so well in its new habitat! I also just picked up a marked-down plant at Fiesta - a neighborhood grocery store - and it's turning out to be among the best I have - It has lovely leaves and lots of leaf-like white blossoms. In fact it looks like a variety of the ones I'm nursing along so carefully, the ones named Claudia and Avalon. They have larger leaves but similar and they are trying to make similar white flowers.

I'm being treated to lunch today (part of my extended birthday fun) so I need to get myself in gear. Have only a couple of hours to finish tidying the house and myself. hehe. Thank you so much for your fun comments! Hugs.


AskAshlie3433 profile image

AskAshlie3433 5 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

Hey there Nell. What a great hub. I am a green eater. I can't go without my greens. There is no way. I love the pictures. That is cool that your parents could grow that good. It was very important in those days. I enjoyed the read. Thanks and best wishes.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Me, too, Ashlie! I'm accused of being part dinosaur, I love my GREENs so! My "leaf" - have to have it! Yes- and it may become important again to grow one's own - they say food prices are going to go out of sight. If I have my fresh stuff, I'm ok! And it will grow! Thanks for the great visit and comments!


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon

I think writing is your garden. As I read from there row on row, there revealed, the garden that you grow. I love gardens, they tell so much about gardeners.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

I love real gardens, too! They do reveal a lot about the gardener. They also require a lot of TLC, as do the writing ones. Being absorbed in the latter, I haven't done much of the former for a long while, though my house plants are thriving now! Claudia is full of lovely white blossoms. I've taken some photos of it. May have to do a followup hub!

So where is YOUR garden so it can tell us more about you? :-) Or - blush - do I need to investigate your site more thoroughly?


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon

Perhaps my love of humor conceals my garden. Wrote a piece called "the letter" and "America the beautiful" that reveal my serious side, but, I suspect, that which we conceal, concealed mostly to ourselves.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

I very much admire your gift of humor. I was not exaggerating how much I laughed at the piece about listening. Not only humorous but so accurate! I definitely will enjoy investigating more of your work.

I suspect that most of what we reveal or conceal is mostly subjective and when others notice it, it is noticed from their subjective perspectives. So it's not difficult to conceal much of ourselves. hehe. There may be some risk in how it is interpreted by others, though. That's surely the risk of the written word. Spoken words are not as indelible on others' memories. But in B&W -- well - there they are, repeating whatever they read into them again and again! ;->


agaglia profile image

agaglia 5 years ago

Nice hub. Makes me think I could write about plants. I love gardening, pressing flowers, making flower arrangements and taking photos of my flower arrangements.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, agaglia - do that! I think there is something so refreshing about all that goes into caring for living things and using them to preserve their glory and to create lovely art. It would be a wonderful hub!

I've never pressed flowers but on a delightful visit to friend in the UK several years ago, our host's mother invited us to dinner and we got to see her beautiful garden with a sweeping view of the surrounding fields. AND she did flower pressing as well. When we raved about it, she gave us one of her framed "pressed flower pictures". It hangs on my entrance-way wall proudly near a gift from her daughter - (who was our hostess) - of one of her own delicate crewel embroideries of flowers.

There is such inspiration in greenery and blossoms. My New Year's project which I wrote about here is doing well, by the way! I've definitely learned the nature of the plants and when and how to keep them alive and healthy. Each one is thriving, in fact. I've begun to wonder whether I'll be able to carry their pots to the sink to give them their drinks, they're growing so tall and lush! What a pleasure they are!

Thank you for reading and commenting! Hugs!


Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

Great artist, great writer, wonderful commentator. I have read your works and most of the time I find no words to describe how good your hubs are.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Binaya - thank you! My green family are all still doing well. Avalon is full of blossoms, and faithful Claudia is as feisty as ever! :-) I'm so pleased that you poked around in the archives and found this hub. I really had fun writing it! Your kind compliments mean a lot to me!


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 2 years ago from Texas

I hesitated to tell you this because I think maybe I seem to be critical when I'm not trying to be, but I think it might be something you would want to know if perhaps you have not noticed. Or then again, perhaps you had some reason for it. So. . .the first thing I noticed is that your name is misspelled on the ivy leaf in the intro graphic.

Having said that, I enjoyed this hub. Your watering method sounds much like my own! That's why I think ivy or a cactus plant should suit me well. haha. Although, the hydrangeas seemed to do well with a moderate to thorough drenching. I sat them on saucers or plates until they drained and then waited for the soil to dry. I just have no idea what tainted the soil. I'm thinking my son tried to 'feed' it some coke. I seem to recall him asking and telling him no, but. . .It isn't all the way brown yet, so we shall see if its survival instinct comes through.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 2 years ago from Texas

Okay. Eat your spinach and be happy. ;) Who am I to judge? hahaha. I may be observant, but I also make plenty of my own mistakes.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS Author

Very observant. Indeed my name is misspelled on the ivy leaf! It's good to be aware of it, but it doesn't warrant fixing because the hub is virtually dormant after its nearly 4 years of publication. You may notice that until now, the previous comment was 3 years ago. This error has already been through its paces. That graphic is no longer even interactive for me to edit. It would require more effort than it's worth to fix it, - at least until I run short of busy things to fill my hours and days and/or till it bugs me to know it's misspelled. As of now, it really doesn't. I anticipate forgetting about it by the time I post this reply. haha. But thank you! I like for folks to report errors, as I hope they like if I do for them. Would that someone had noticed it in Feb., 2011 when people were still visiting the hub! ;-)

My watering method suits ivy but not cactus, which prefers to be dry and to filter their own water 'their way' from the atmosphere rather than being drenched, unless the desert itself does it. An occasional pass-by with water seems to sustain them.

When a plant gives it up, I've learned to give it that right to go with dignity. It's a delicate balance to recognize that moment.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 2 years ago from Texas

Hahahaha! And now my comment is out of order. LOL. At least you know it is in response to your comment that you edited - and posted twice, by the way. Technology has its minor irritations and/or amusements.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS Author

So it does. ;-) But again, that anomaly also will be buried in the antiquity of my ancient hubs, along with my own misspelled name right up at the top of the hub!

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