Friday, April 8, 2011

I kill plants....

....I don't know why or how (or may be I do...) but I have never been successful in rearing a plant life.

In my defense, I have lived in a city in an apartment all my life without as much as a glimpse of gardening...well, if you don't count the potted Thulasi that amma had (and obviously amma took care of) and yes, I did occasionally water it and did the mandatory pradakshinam and namaskaram whenever amma asked me to but now that I think about it, I don't even know where she got it from or how often she changed the mud !

Trial 1: Year 1996
We had this inter-St.Johns' (there are 4 branches) competition where each school had to do their own mini-projects and exhibit them for the others. Since my engineering skills are way better than my artistic skills, I was assigned the ''technical'' tasks but a friend falling sick at an inopportune moment meant that I had to prepare one of the ''fields'' in her place for an irrigation project. It was nothing fancy (or at least that's what I thought...I was naive back then), I was to sow some wheat or kezhvaragu in a tray and allow it to grow for 3-4 days and bring it to the school (just like we create or rather amma creates a park for Golu). I duly took the seeds from amma and a green tray (with amma saying ada kadavule, adhu vethalapakku kudukara thattu di!), found some mud with the help of our watchman, carefully planted and watered them.

Day one - Nada
Day two - Null, I kept it in the mottamadi for a couple of hours after wondering if it was getting enough sunlight in our balcony
Day three - still nothing, by now I was really getting worried because I was to take it to the school the next day. I was so desperate that I actually sat and talked to the tray for a couple of minutes (seriously!) since I had heard somewhere (most likely vayalum vazhvum) that talking to plants and treating them as beings with feelings help their growth !
Day four - tray looked like green eminems hidden in the mud, took it to school, got a wrathful look from the teacher, who somehow managed to include it as a ''just-budding'' field in the project.

Trial 2: Year 2003
It was my first birthday in Germany. A few friends had come over for dinner and one of them got me a small potted plant that apparently blooms beautifully in the spring (and I thought to myself, if it makes it to the spring!). She gave me instructions on how to take care of it, I diligently took a note of them and created outlook reminders. Seeing the first bloom was as exciting as seeing the first snow !! Not to mention that I took a zillion pictures of it !

One became many and at one point, I actually had 37 small blossoms (and yes, I counted). I proudly showed it off to a friend who pointed out to me that the plant was getting bigger for the pot and I should shift it to a bigger one.

I asked around, went to a store, bought a pot, some mud (and after getting over the initial reluctance of paying for mud!) and then shifted the plant to the bigger pot....and 3 days later, it died ! I cursed the friend who suggested shifting the plant to another pot and told my friends ''No more plants, please!''

Trial 3: Year 2006
A plant-crazy colleague of mine was telling me about how she had requested her mom to come and water her 50 potted plants (yes, 50) when she travels for work. I told her about my jinx factor w.r.t plants and she was shocked. She gave me a plant (, not again...) that belongs to the cactus family and told me that it required no care whatsoever. I took it home with some trepidation and gradually realised that she was right, it hardly required any water and the sunlight in the window sill was more than enough. After two years, I was really glad that I had beaten the jinx factor.

In 2008, I had a travel marathon and was away for 5 weeks and when I came home, the plant had breathed its last !

Trial 4: Year 2011
My new apartment has a huge balcony. Now that spring is here, I went outside and stood on the balcony enjoying my morning coffee. As I looked around, I noticed that all my neighbours's balconies were suitably decorated - hanging flower pots, pots on the ground, creepers on the sill and to add insult to injury, the lady in the opposite apartment came into her balcony with her gardening gloves and started planting new ones !! In the interest of not being the only apt with a lacklustre balcony, I am going to try my hand at this again and all I can say is.....May God save the plants ! Amen !


  1. if God has to save the plant then... step 1: ensure the chowmee doesn't find it... ;)

  2. haha... we also killed, not plants, but fish. :D
    we had 1 aquarium.

  3. @viki
    I know I asked for it but I still reserve the right to say 'en manasa udachita'

    aha...nalla galam I dint try my hand with fish, thanks for the heads-up !

  4. so... r u actually sayin it or jus reservin the right to do so??? :D

  5. Well here I am! Another person with zero luck w.r.t plants. Having bought a new home my first thought was to have plants in our balcony. I went to the nearby nursery and bought a tulsi plant. Which was then a beautiful small plant with two branches, is slowly dying because of insects. Though the nursery person gave me medicine for it, its not helping! I dont think even I should not unnecessary buy more plants and kill them. It is just not going to work out.

  6. @Priya H
    weirdly enough, just y'day another friend of mine Priya H (Hariharan) told me a similar story and said she had no luck with plants either ! Don't worry, you are not alone......!

  7. I started last year September with indoor plants ( 4 of them). I had to depart with one of them last month.
    But still not losing hope, I have balcony full of flowers now.

    Problem.... either we water them too much ( special care , u see) or forget to water then when caught up with other acitivities.

  8. Ofcourse, I agree gardening is bit stenuous and time consuming but It gives job satisfaction. As u said I used to count the bud. If somebody touch my plant or pluck the flowers I used to shout at them. Its more like taking care of ur own child. Now I can proudly say that I have quite a few pots in my gardening blooming and blossoming. Thats makes my day. Also, my kids water the plants these days. Gud luc with ur planting and enjoy doing it !!


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