Jungle Green Thumb

When I was younger, my favorite among the Crayola markers was the color Jungle Green. It still is, I suppose. I haven’t claimed a new favorite. Anyhow, a green thumb is certainly not one of my attributes. I tend to take very poor care of my plants. There’s not enough pressure, I decided, and as a procrastinator extraordinaire, I don’t do well without pressure. With my pets, I was fueled by the fear of their death (and, ahem, my love for them, of course). But the death of a plant is much less traumatic than the death of a gerbil. So my potted pals tend to die a slow, barely noticeable death under my careless eye. Or rather, the eye that sits on the couch, looks at the sad potted plant and thinks, “I should water that,” while rarely, if ever, following through. The point? I’m hoping that maybe I have enough of a green thumb to keep my current plants alive, because I’ve become rather attached to the ones that have survived me until now. And I just bought a basil plant and I reeeally want it to live (so I can hack it apart and eat it). So while my thumb is not traditionally green, perhaps I can prove to have a digit of the jungle green hue.

My plant family:



Steve has, perhaps, the most interesting backstory of all my plants. I bought him during a trip to Lowes with my roommates in college. My boyfriend’s birthday was approaching, and I didn’t know what to get for him. While we were there (for what? I’m not sure) I had the brilliant idea to buy a plant for a birthday gift. I have a weird affinity for plants, even though they tend to die around me, and I like the thought of having a living thing nearby that doesn’t require tons of attention. (I’d be a cat person were I not allergic.) Steve was way smaller then, living in a tiny yellow pot, and I thought he was cute. After the purchase, one of my friends suggested it could be viewed as a test: if my boyfriend could keep the plant alive and take good care of it, I would know he could take good care of me – because dating him wasn’t a very good litmus test. Anyway, there was no subliminal test in my mind attached to the plant, and I figured he might not last long in my boyfriend’s med-school bachelor pad. But he did! Paul took great care of the little guy, naming him Steve after the hedge in Over the Hedge and he now lives with us, bigger than ever. I suppose Steve may have prefigured our eventual marriage, since he did so well. Every so often he starts to look a little sad, but every so often I dump a bowl of water in his pot and turn him toward the sun.


Ted (occupying Steve’s old pot)

IMG_5566When I moved to Columbus after college, I lived in a rented house with two roommates whom I didn’t know very well. It was a fine living arrangement, but could get a little lonely sometimes, so at my inaugural grocery shopping trip I bought Ted from Giant Eagle to liven up my bedroom. Ted is short for Theodore, as one of my college friends christened him, and he indeed kept me company in those five months before I got married. He has persisted through some near-death experiences and lives with us now in Cleveland. After I added some dirt to his pot leftover from a dead cilantro plant (not sure who killed the cilantro plant…still looking into it), Ted grew a mutant stem-like arm that eventually flowered. I was so confused by that for the longest time, but now it appears to be growing a mini-Ted at the end of it. So I guess it’s supposed to do that. Good on ya, Ted.

Peter and Fiona

Peter and Fiona

Peter and Fiona are two succulents I bought impulsively in Amish Country, thinking they would look good on my kitchen windowsill. And they do. I also thought succulents would be hard to kill. Also true. Fiona is doing better than Peter, who got sort of brown on one side. I’m not really sure about how to water them; I assume rarely, and hope I’m right.

Drew the Basil Plant

Drew the Basil Plant

Drew is the result of a recent trip to the grocery store. We’ve taken to making pesto here at Casa Shaniuk, and since buying the basil leaves at the grocery store gets expensive, I decided to invest in this guy. (Paul named him.) I have NO IDEA how to care for an herb (see above: cilantro plant) and I’m terrified Drew will die before ever getting the chance to live (and get eaten. Plant life is complicated.) I know I need to trim him frequently but I’m very scared of doing it wrong. PLEASE LIVE, DREW!

And that’s it. I guess this is a just a really drawn-out way of begging for herb-care advice. Any help for a novice would be greatly appreciated. Here’s to my jungle green thumb.


2 thoughts on “Jungle Green Thumb

  1. What’s with the add on your blog? Can you remove it? Oh and by the way your post was very interesting! But what I don’t understand is why you didn’t ask Grandpa Rink for tips when you were there visiting last Friday? All the land they sit on was his playground as a kid, and oh ya, they did farm like 60 acres!!!!! Maybe you should ask him for some tips!

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