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Operation: Watering Someone Else’s Plants

I have absolutely ‘No Clue’ when it comes to gardening. In fact, after that time I killed a cactus? I realized my ‘Black Thumb’ would probably be ‘Convicted’ for ‘Murdering’ even a ‘Plastic Plant’.

Nonetheless, one of my closest and dearest friends was leaving to go away on vacation for a week in ‘Cabo San Lucas Mexico’, and considering I live directly around the block from her? I agreed to water her plants while she was away.

And here’s how that worked out for me. And here’s how it worked out for the plants.

[Insert the ‘Law & Order’ sound effect “DUNT-DUNT”]

Day One’ of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ started last Monday Morning. I went over to my friend’s house, I let myself in the back gate, I took out the hose, and I haphazardly sprayed water on each plant. I wrapped up the hose, shut off the water, closed the gate, and I got into my car to head home. It seemed easy enough to me. I figured watering her plants would be an incredibly simple task.

But of course, I was wrong.

Day Two’ of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ began early Tuesday Morning. [And by early morning, I really mean ‘Late-Afternoon’.] However, it wasn’t until AFTER I had finished watering all of the plants when my ‘Best Friend’ otherwise known as ‘Amy The Bartender’ casually informed me that due to the outrageously high temperatures, I was NOT supposed to spray any water on the leaves of the plants, especially at that hour of the day, because that could cause the poor plants to singe and/or burn.

Oh. That’s just great. I had no friggen idea.

Short of figuring out a way to individually dry off each leaf, there was really nothing I could do at that point. I spent the better part of my evening worried I would find my friend’s plants scorched the following morning. I envisioned brown charred leaves with crispy holes in them, pointing their proverbial fingers of evidence right in my direction.

Day Three’ of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ started bright and early on Wednesday Morning. I was eager to find out whether or not my girlfriends plants had survived the night. Luckily for me, they had. I grabbed the hose, I turned on the water and I attempted to spray the plants WITHOUT getting any water on the leaves. But after a mere ‘Two Seconds’, I realized that was half past impossible.

Thankfully, another neighbor was outside and caught a glimpse of my utterly perplexed face. I desperately asked for advice. “Yeah, um, can you please tell me how the heck am I supposed to water these plants without getting any of the leaves wet?” She came over laughing and advised me to change the setting on the hose to ‘Pour’ as opposed to ‘Shower’ and placed the nozzle into the soil of the plant. Then I pressed down, letting the water run, while counting out-loud to ‘Seven’.  Ah, yes. Mission accomplished.

Or so I thought.

Day Four’ of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ started later than usual on Thursday Evening. I decided to bring my son along with me. We arrived to find all of the plants looking perky and alive. Except for one.  One plant still had an excessive amount of water in it.

I said to my son, “Wow. I guess I did a really good job of watering the plants yesterday, because this one is still drenched.” I was ready to pat myself on the back for a job-well-done when all of a sudden my son looked at me as if I had two heads. “Mom, that’s NOT a good thing. You’re drowning that plant!” Apparently, he knows more about ‘Horticulture’ than I ever will.

“What?” I exclaimed, confused.

“Well mom,” my son huffed, “you know how you can under-water a plant? Well, you can ALSO over-water a plant.”

“Oh.”  “I did not know that either!”  “Sh*t.” “Now what am I supposed to do?”

I was riddled with anxiety. I was convinced that I had ‘Accidentally Executed’ this poor little plant.

I frantically tried to ‘Rescue’ the plant by dumping out as much water as I possibly could and moving the plant to a different location where it would receive more sunlight. Hopefully, my ‘Brilliant Idea’ would help dry the soil. But only time would tell.

That evening, I decided to Google the term “How To Water Plants Properly” because clearly, I was making all kinds of mistakes.

Day Five’ of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ started pretty early on Friday Morning. And this time, I was determined to take care of these plants properly. I remembered all of the things I was supposed to do:

Don’t under-water the plants. Don’t over-water the plants. Don’t get the leaves wet, or they can burn. It’s best to water the plants at the same time every day. Apply water in the cool of the morning or evening when the wind is calm and water loss through evaporation is minimal. *Avoid watering disease-susceptible plants at night. [Yeah. Whatever the hell that means!]

Young or new plantings require more moisture at the soil surface to help their roots get established. You should water more often to accommodate their needs. Mature plantings with large root systems can be watered heavily and less often than younger plants. [But, of course I don’t know if these plants are Young or Mature?]

I remembered to shut off the water, and I had to put the hose back in its proper place, before locking the back gate. By the time I got home my head was spinning. And that’s when I saw one of my friends on Facebook left a comment on my Wall with one last gardening tip.

“Did you remember to talk to them?”

Jesus. H. Christ.

[I was too busy talking myself off a ledge to remember to talk to the plants too!]

Day Six’ of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ started early on Saturday Morning. Much to my surprise, all of the plants were doing quite well. The basil was growing in nice and leafy, and the other plants [which I could not identify by name even if my life depended on it] were not brown or and they were not burnt.

I was positively thrilled with the results of my new-found watering skills.

That is, until I noticed some of the flowers looked wilted.

Mother. F*cker.

Considering they are buried UNDER ROCKS, I couldn’t very well apply the ‘Pour Method’.

Day Seven’ of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ took place on Sunday Morning. The flowers were still pretty wilted, but I decided to chalk that up to the fact that it was incredibly humid for the last week, and there was absolutely nothing I could have done to save those poor things. The rest of the plants seemed to be doing okay. I had a lovely ‘Chat’ with them, and I assured them their mother would be home very shortly to give them all the love and attention they needed.

Day Eight’ otherwise known as The Last Day of: ‘Operation Watering Someone Else’s Plants’ seriously couldn’t come fast enough. I had no idea taking care of plants and a gardening could be so much work. And quite frankly, trying to keep them alive was entirely too much pressure! However, all kidding aside, I enjoyed myself very much throughout this experiment. And I learned a lot. Honestly, I think having only ‘One’ Dead-Plant via ‘Drowning’ out of all ‘Thirty-Five’ plants – is a pretty damn good ratio!

Now, I just have to take care of my mother’s plants while she’s away in Jamaica. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

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  • Wearing someone else's PANTS would have been more fun!

  • Oh – Good Luck to your plants!
    I hope your botanical babysitter knows what to do!


  • Oscar

    Hey Ms. Black thumb! I have two dogs that belong to my son that I need youto feed! LOL

  • Okay Mel, I'm convinced. We were separated at birth. You need to have a talk with your parents.

    What good would we do each other if we met in real life? First of all, we would get lost on our way to any funeral, looney bin or 5 star hotel due to the fact that neither one of us can find our way out of a brown paper bag.

    We would laugh uncontrollably at poor unsuspecting strangers because our people watching skills are definitely up to par but we can't control ourselves, so we would probably be beaten by said unsuspecting stranger.

    Aaand, we would kill every single plant on our way to god know where. Man, we would have so much fun!

    Great post. I seriously have been learning all this stuff myself this summer because I decided to start a flower garden. I gave up on the vegetables because they were too hard to take care of and all the weeding was a bit much. I figured that if I had a perennial garden it would be very low maintenance because they just come back every year. Boy was I wrong!

    I could follow directions to a tee and still kill every single one of my plants. WTF?! Oh well, Ce la vie.

  • Kellypea

    Oh goodness. You've had quite the ordeal, haven't you? Jeez Louize! Those day lilies aren't wilted, btw, they just need to be dead-headed and they'll look as good as new. Good thing your son gave you the head's up on the floating plant, though. Now you're a pro, right? ; 0

  • Sorry! Ahahahahahha

  • I am going to DEMAND a DNA test!
    I TRULY believe you are my TWIN sister!

  • KELLYPEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am SO happy to see you over here!
    God, woman I have REALLY missed YOU.

  • MikeWJ at TooManyMornings

    My poor mother is an avid gardener and used to give me plants all the time. And I used to kill them all the time, usually because I'd forget about them. Now I don't have any plants except the ones in my yard, and they live or die on their own, without my help or hurt. Basically, I guess I don't care about plants. I know that's wrong, but it's true. I'd just as soon live in New York City, where there aren't any plants.

  • Wow – that's a lot of plants to take care of! You did great if only one died by accidental drowning. I'd say that was a success and who is to say that that particular plant didn't deserve it anyway, right? I mean, maybe it was the bad one of the bunch. LOL!!! 🙂 It's so much fun to see you expanding your comfort zone. Thanks for sharing with us and inspiring us. Hugs to you!

  • Hugs to you too!

  • I prefer concrete too

  • You did a GREAT job! And those wilting flowers? Don't worry. It's not your fault. I think they are day lilies (or something like that.) We have them around here and they only bloom for a little while before the flowers die off.

    You can water my plants anytime.

    Hmmm… did that sound kind of naughty? It really wasn't meant to be! 🙂

  • Ahahahahha! Thanks Terri!

  • Diana Keough

    This is such a funny post…I know the whole “green thumb” thing escapes me as well! And your blog is just fantastic. I have a website, http://www.shareWIK.com, and would love to hear from you! ShareWIK (share What I Know) is a website devoted to bringing together women from all different situations and backgrounds (as well as a few men!) to talk about their experiences and learn from each other. We have a group on ShareWIK called “Single Parenting” that could really use your input. Hope to hear from you!
    – Diana Keough
    P.S. Heres the link to the group. Just sign in to get started! http://www.sharewik.com/groups/23570
    And keep up the great work!

  • thanks

  • ladyV

    I went over to my friend’s house, I let myself in the back gate, I took out the hose, and I haphazardly sprayed water on each plant. I wrapped up the hose, shut off the water, closed the gate, and I got into my car to head home. It seemed easy enough to me. I figured watering her plants would be an incredibly simple task.

    HYSTERICAL. too funny. i sure hope your friend doesn't read your blog, but i'm sure she does. you did a good job, but it's just reading about the other stuff, up until the great job. as i was reading i was thinking why is meleah watering the plants every day. hahahahhaha. that poor one plant.

    this was funny, sorry. thanks for the laughs.

  • You're very welcome Happy to make you laugh!

  • This is such a funny story. I laughed so hard I cried when you googled 'How to water plants.' You did really well but you forgot one thing. You should have sung to the plants. They like a good singalong. You can try it when your Mum goes to Jamaica 😀

  • But I am tone deaf!
    I assure you if I had sung to the plants? They would all be dead!

  • Jules

    Nice! I killed a cactus once too, by over-watering it. I didn't know that leaves burn if you spray water on them and it's really hot outside. Maybe they should make some kind of sunscreen for plants.

  • sunscreen for plants would be AWESOME!

  • Roshan

    I didn't care much for plants for all the years that I lived in our house in Thrikkakara. My parents were crazy about watering them and taking care of them. Heck even my dog seemed to like the plants & flowers and used to smell them for a few minutes every day! As for me, I broke a few plants & pots 🙂 – riding my bike carelessly and hitting a couple of them.

  • Taking care of plants is like a full time job!

  • Oh God I hate to kill someone elses plants, or their pets, or even their kids! So I know how you feel.

  • I have NO BUSINESS being responsible!

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