Monday, May 24, 2010

How to kill off a bougainvillea and other gardening tips

That I am no green thumb goes without saying. That I've just said it means, in some way, I'm feeling I must defend myself against the tragedy that is my horticultural prowess. I've killed off the indestructable, including a north west, hot pink bougainvillea. It died after several weeks of me tending to it with food scraps and water. I know, I know, the gardening gurus of you out there are probably wincing at the thought of such blashphemy. In addition, early on in our courtship, my husband procured for me two plants he believed it would be impossible for me to destroy: a polyanthus and a marjoram. I called them 'Polyunsaturated Marj' and killed them off with lightning dexterity.

I have a malady known as 'The herbivorous touch of death'. And although I've managed to grow four sunflowers (for my child's kindergarten project no less), they're now hanging by a six foot thread. I fear that once they've fully drooped to the ground, they will possibly mark the terminus of my green endeavours for all eternity.

So, no, I would not even call myself a 'budding' gardener. I'm the sort of green thumb even a garden gnome would abandon...

A Gnome's Tale

When I first stood, with bow in hair
and wat’ring can in hand,
a four year old in wonderment
in mummy’s garden grand,
I loved to stand beside her and just
watch as she sprayed water
and see her little plants grow big
just like her little daughter.

When I grew up and ventured out
to find myself a home,
I took my little wat’ring can
and bought myself a gnome.
When I moved in the grass was green,
the flowerbeds were bursting;
I knew I should just water them
in case they were a-thirsting.

I loved to watch the water spray
out of the plastic spout.
My gnome would watch o’er all my plants
and use his gnomish clout
to warn away all bugs and snails
as gnomes are wont to do
and urge my flowers up to the air
into the looming blue.

I watered them at dawn, oh yes,
and I watered them at night, with my
watering can in overtime
in watering delight and
I watered purple irises
and sunflowers as they arched
towards the glorious sun above
not wanting to be parched.

But two weeks after I moved in
I walked into my garden
and from beneath me heard a voice
so small, ‘I beg your pardon,
Miss Leesie, something’s going wrong’,
my gnome spoke, head a’tilting,
‘Your lawn is browning by the day,
Your garden, it is wilting!’

The horror oh the horror!
He was right and started crying,
my sunflowers drooped like little boys,
my irises were dying,
my daisies hung like limp balloons,
my gerb’ras were like mush.
I grabbed my trusty watering can,
declaring, ‘You’ll be lush!’

In feverish pursuit of life
I ran from plant to flower.
I watered like a crazy woman
hour ‘pon hour ‘pon hour.
My little gnome sat helpless
as he watched me go berserk,
I thought of mummy’s garden
and I knew this had to work.

But two days on and all worn out
I saw it come to nought,
for even though I’d watered long
and truly ruly fought,
my garden had all withered
like a mushed up painter’s palette;
it looked as if I’d taken to it
with a hefty mallet.

I tried to make it grow again
and watered it twice daily
and added sheep, horse, cow manure
and songs, I sang them gaily.
By now my gnome, nose deep in poo,
he stank to highest heaven,
so we moved out of number eight…
and moved to number seven.

Again, the pattern did repeat:
I watered, then things carked it.
My gnome would weep, expletives beep,
I didn’t understand it.
It seemed I saw a pattern then,
as we tried different pastures,
from town to suburb, beach to hills,
I’d cause the same disasters.

So we moved to a hot place where I
planted twenty cacti.
I was so sure I’d have success
But you know that in fact I…
couldn’t grow a bl**dy cactus,
even in the desert,
and then my gnome abandoned me,
unfaithful bonsai squirt!

It seems that when I breathe upon
a lawn or flowers blooming
or when I smile upon a plant
its final days are looming.
My gnome he walks upon the earth
to tell his tale of woe,
he begs for shelter and conveys
what everyone should know -

the more I stare ebullient
upon your leaves all waxy
the faster you’ll be calling me
the quickest passing taxi.
The greater is my wonderment,
the wider is my smile,
the faster will your garden wilt -
you’ll make me run a mile.

My gnome he goes to jungles lush
and warns the natives there.
He traipses into florists
and they stand wide-eyed and stare.
And when my gnome he visits you
to warn you in one breath,
I must admit, he’s right, I have
the herbivorous touch of death.

© Elise Batchelor  2010

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