in the garden.

“How’s the garden?” Kate asked me.

The two best things I ever did for my tiny garden were:

  • Leave town for eleven days. Because not being around to tend to my garden is the greenest my thumb has ever been.
  • Install drip lines. Because I have no idea how much or how little I need to be watering these things.

I had a day to see if the lines even worked—and by, “a day,” I mean that I had three hours before we left. By, “worked” I mean, made sure they emitted some water to make me feel better about walking away from something I’ve dedicated myself to killing for almost two months.

I didn’t know what to expect when I got back home. I didn’t know if the drip line would carry enough water for them all to make it through a week of hot weather. I also didn’t know if the entire greenhouse would still be there. One wind would be enough to blow the panels across the country.

When I got home last week, I did still have a greenhouse. I lost a side panel and found a roof panel—which is currently being used in place of the missing side panel. The door panels were blown off, but, otherwise, that was it. As for my plants, well, they’re still alive. Mostly.

Here’s a quick summary of what I came home to (from left to right):

  • Lemon Thyme. This has done nothing since I bought it. It hasn’t died. It hasn’t grown. So, I consider it a success.
  • Citronella. I don’t know why I bought these. I thought they would repel mosquitoes, but I think I’m supposed to crush it up and rub it on my skin for it to actually do anything. I’m not sure how I’d explain that to my husband if he happened to walk by while I was exfoliating with a plant leaf.
  • Tomato Plant 1: The base is alive, but not by choice. It’s alive because I won’t let it die. It keeps getting watered. This plant’s current status is exhausted. I know it wants to quit, but if I can’t quit, neither can it. We suffer together.

  • Peppermint. This plant loves being over watered like my kids love bubbles and pipe cleaners. If you stand still enough in the greenhouse, you can hear it giggle.
  • Tomato Plant 2: It has three yellow buds that will probably die before they have a chance to reach full tomato status. This one did get taller, though. I can hang the branches over the cage. Still, it’s hardly the big, bushy plant everyone said it would be. But that’s probably my fault. Probably.
  • Bell Peppers. One died. Two are still alive, and despite the fresh growth, the pepper buds are brown. When you lightly touch them, they just fall off the plant—it’s kind of like a metaphor for my experience with this entire urban gardening experience.

  • Strawberries. This was probably the biggest shocker of all. The strawberry plant not only flourished on the new drip line, but it has several new flowers with pretty white petals that are being eaten by something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another with this place.
  • Lavender. This died a week after I got it. Two months ago. So, no change. Success!
  • Dianthus. This flower was probably the only plant in my greenhouse that was thriving. Plus, I have tons of these in the front yard doing great. So, I was surprised to see it dead and sitting in a bog of soggy soil.

“There’s plenty of green here,” Jessica said. “It looks like they all harbored what water they could to keep the most important parts alive. You’re still in the game!”

I wasn’t excited to hear this.

I’ll be honest; I’m burnt out.

Going to get tomatoes at the grocery store is faster and easier on the ego than trying to grow my own. Sure, I’m learning a lot about my overwatering addiction, and probably I need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting—literally, about what I’m doing with His father’s plants. I haven’t felt this incompetent since the time I tried to give my cat a bath in the sink with the spray nozzle.

Still, with two more months of warm weather left in the summer season and plants that aren’t quite dead yet, I have no choice but to keep going.


“How’s the garden?” Kate asked me.

“It’s in bad shape since our trip,” I said. “I’m just hoping it all dies soon so I can be done.”

“You have such a green thumb,” she said, laughing.

“Not being around my garden is the greenest my thumb has ever been.”

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