Elvis, revisited by a non-fan

Amy O’Leary

I love a challenge. And each year, my winter challenge is to keep my houseplants alive. I am fond of each of my dozen or so plants, and I take great pains to see they remain in the land of the living. It’s a trial with the house being closed up tight, the pellet stove roaring, and no sunshine every day but so far so good.

I have one plant that my son gave me for Valentine’s day last year that is still feeling the love, a cutting from my mother-in-law that would pass inspection, an amaryllis red lion that roars every Christmas, a thriving aloe vera plant (I’m a succa for succulents), a fern, and some standard variety house plants that are all hanging in there. I might even say they are flourishing, although, I cannot say why.

I have no green thumb. I don’t know the proper names of most of my plants, but they all seem to have the will to live and it is a joy to see them grow. Really though, I should be a house plant parolee for all the plants I’ve killed. I’ve overwatered, underwatered, snipped too much, not snipped enough, yelled at them, ignored them, sung at them, kept them in the dark, burnt them in the sun. I mean, I did things to a Chia Pet once that no plant should have to suffer through.

And I don’t do anything special now other than see they have a pretty pot to live in and water them when I hear them say, “Hey lady, what does a cactus have to do to get a drink around here?” I pull off the yellowing leaves. I turn them around once in a while. And for added insurance I put stakes in the soil of each plant that read “You grow girl,” “stayin’ alive,” and “I will survive!” I’m not kidding.

For now, though, if the snow is falling and the wind is whipping around outside, my indoor plants are showing me the love. I guess I’m showing them some love too. I talk to them, but I don’t tell short jokes to my bonsai. I give thyme to my spices, I guess you can say I turned over a new leaf.......oh grow up!

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