Green Thumb Blues

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

I’ve never had a green thumb.  The only plants I’ve ever been able to keep alive are hostas and pathos. In fact, I have one pathos which is 20 years old.  Every summer, I planted a couple hundreds dollars worth of flowers and new shrubs to replace the ones from the year before that died.

Last fall, I had an idea.  I’d bring a flower box annual coleus inside for the winter just to see what might happen. Well, a lot happened!  This supposedly summer-only plant was eight inches high a year ago.  Over the winter, it grew so tall that I had to wire it to a floor lamp to keep it upright.

Early this summer, I wondered if this very large plant would like to spend the warm season back outside, so I transplanted it from the living room into a landscape bed outside.  The damn thing grew even taller and thicker.

I’ve now brought it indoors again.  My grandson, a hulking body builder, could barely lift it.  It’d gone from 8” to 2’ to 3’ in just one year.  I’m thinking about going into the plant-selling business.  Or, maybe just growing several over the winter to give as Xmas gifts.

At this rate, I may have a tree by next summer.  I barely have room for it now, but there’s some kind of silly pride in having accomplished growing a small plant into almost a tree!

What surprising luck have you had with plant life?

28 thoughts on “Green Thumb Blues”

  1. We have great luck with invasive plants. I had great luck one year with a rosemary plant in a pot. I kept it at work. My child clients loved the smell when they atoked the needles. I dug the rosemary plant out of the garden on Sunday night and put it in a pot, so I hope it is successful. Rosemary doesn’t survive our winters out of doirs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve never though of hosta as invasive no matter how large they grow. I have a whole row on both sides of the walkway to the lake which are at least 3′ wide. Each summer, they overtake the sidewalk. To me, invasive means Creeping Charlie or crab grass because it spreads throughout the yard. Hosta stays where it’s planted and each distinct plant just gets bigger.

      People have told me that I should split then sell them on Craig’s List because they cost a fortune at the local nursery. $25 will get you only 4-5 stems in a small pot. Every year, I think “Yeah, I should do that”. Big hosta are very difficult to split, so I’d insist that any interested buyer do the splitting. Let’s see………100 big hosta divided by 4 plants each = 400 plants X $10. I really should do this next spring!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crystal bay…I suppose I wouldn’t think of them as invasive except for the fact that they have jumped…or the birds planted?…so far away from the “rows”. AND they multiply so rapidly.
        But the beauty of it all is that there is a bright green which returns each year with those pretty light purple bells.


  2. A new-to-me at the cabin was a plant given by my neighbor…Hosta. She was thinning so I took some to have along our garage. Little did I know how invasive and healthy they were. I’ve seperated and transplanted… given away at least half of what I have… several times.
    I still offer and give to anyone who wishes…and it can take a pitchfork to seperate the hardy and stubborn roots.

    Our little patch of wooded land which I want to be natural…has pathways of Hosta along the wooden paths. Hosta has “jumped” into natural flowers, wooded areas and accross rock beds. I do enjoy the purple bell flowers. However Ive had to dig out to keep it away from my treasured Yellow Lady Slipper.

    I’m not sure if this qualifies as a surprise…or nightmare.

    (You can kind of see one pathway to my studio if you hit my pic to enlarge.)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have absolutely no luck with plant life indoors — they all die. The only exception is when I plant vegetables & tomatoes in my Earth Boxes outside. And those are some exceptional tomatoes!

    The only other thing that grew amazing well, was when we planted in the Big Lake Community Garden. Immediately after planting a nice variety of wonderful vegetables, a monsoon hit and most seeds were washed away. So darling husband planted an entire garden full of rutabagas. I like them, but definitely not THAT much.

    Oh, and when we had a garden at the house we lost, I was surprised that eggplants grew quite well. They seemed so exotic, I wasn’t expecting them to flourish. Made lots of Eggplant Parmesan, which the boys hated.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ask my wife. She has the green thumb in our house. I’m only surprised that the weeds in my yard always get greener than my grass in summer. It might make more sense to leave them so the grass looks green, even though it’s really green weeds. 😦

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

    1. One person’s weed is another person’s delicacy. My oldest sister is an expert on wild foods and herbs. She can (and has) gone on hikes through woods and picked appropriate greenery, roots and shrubs to make a good meal.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. i love these stories clyde. thanks for making them available. i read the first one and loved it and have the best intentions on the following ones and hope to get them done here soon.
        thanks for the alert. i love the flow of the stories you write.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. i love youur success with coleus cb
    coleus come in many diofferent shades and colors.
    you cold fill a room with plants and they would not be boring at all. the purple you shoe in the picture is great and the greens and yellows that they come in are great too. i have lots of experience with them form my shady locations. i enjoy them bt i am very bad at watering. hosta and i are great. coleus and i enjopu each other until the first hot weekend. you must be a better attendant than i am.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sandy kills house plants. We called her the plant hit woman. Then she decided she wanted to do a fairy garden, which has to be small for this apartment. She has two, one in an old coal shuttle and one on a chamber pot sort of thing. So here she wants the plants to be small. She bought two recommended types, which have, of course, flourished and exploded out of the pots.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I do pretty well with bringing herbs in for the winter…I have a walk-in basement with a large southern window and a grow light. I also have a couple asparagus ferns that a friend gave me in 1967, a couple jade trees that I started as wee things in 1970. I almost lost them in 2009 when I left them in the screen porch into October and they got frozen, but they came back even better than before. On the other hand, I cannot grow mint or lilies of the valley. Hostas thrive. I finally figured out I had to have outdoor plants that were “thugs” or could get taller than the quack grass that grows to 6 or 7 feet tall in what used to be a flower garden. Grapes and trees do well. Day lilies are thugs so they survive and spread. Fun to think about gardens and green things as we head into winter. Thanks, CB.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I pretty much stick to easy things to grow outdoors: herbs, berries, easy perennials like hostas, daylilies, and coneflowers, and annuals like nasturtiums. I tried foxglove a couple summers ago and was pleasantly surprised to have them thrive. Last summer and this summer I planted a pineapple sage plant and was happy to have some brilliant red flowers grace my back yard in the fall. Here’s a picture that gives you an idea of what the flowers look like – the focus is on the milkweed seed but you can see the general idea of the flower, which is just one of many on a 2-3 foot plant:

    I never tried the plant as an herb, just enjoyed the flowers.

    Sorta OT: I’m confused about a couple things: 1) I checked the blog this morning, not early morning, and saw nothing new. Now I come on here in the evening and there’s a new post. I thought the posts went “live” very early in the morning. Am I missing something? 2) I’m trying to figure out what kind of plant pathos is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe it is pothos – I have several and cannot kill them no matter what I do. I also have 4 Christmas cacti that somehow thrive in the wrong window exposure. I give them haircuts every so often and they really seem to like it. Two of them bloom once or twice a year – and are currently full of buds/blooms. The other two get a few blooms every couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, we have 10 inches of snow and about 4 more inches to come in the next 24 hours. We haven’t had a storm like this in a couple of years. Our town schools were open all day, as was my work. We will see what the morning brings. I plan to transport my transplanted roaemary to wrk tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

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