Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Black Fingers

I have an unhappy history as a gardener. A history which leaves behind blackened, withered plants, shriveled from lack of care. My father once gave me an orchid as a birthday present. I tried to keep it alive, but erratic watering and my evil charm with plants did not do well for it. A few months later it was very poorly. When my parents came round for dinner I asked my father whether he could take it home and revive it (as he had in the past with an almost-dead African violet.) 'It's dead' he announced dryly.

My parents, my father in particular, are excellent gardeners. He is often found wandering in their garden around breakfast time in his '#1' yukata, teapot in hand, lovingly checking on each plant as though they were sleeping babies. It seems they thrive for him from love and attention as much as water and bone meal.

Meanwhile my green genocide continues. I bought plants for our roof terrace. Hardy plants. Difficult to kill. Chosen expressly for their resilience - bamboo and leafy palms. Several months in they were still alive. So far, I thought, so good. Though withered at the edges, still alive. Or so I thought.

Recently, guilt, and Sunday, sent me up to water my neglected charges and I noticed that the sprouts of green from one pot of bamboo were coming from the thick bamboo poles the bamboo plant had been tied to to keep it upright. Up and down the pole sprouts of green were escaping, bursting out. The dead bamboo pole had come back to life. The original bamboo plant, unfortunately, was dead.

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