dead plant in the killing fieldsSpring has sprung, and the action is heating up in my personal killing fields. My general tendency is to butcher almost everything I plant so it will be a long season. Because of my dismal track record, I stick mostly to succulents and cacti, which are harder, but not impossible, to demolish.

 The recent spurt of masochism began when I won the grand prize at the La Grange Garden Club meeting earlier this year; a treasure trove of herbs. (Note: even with a reputation for torturing living organisms, I have been a garden club member since 2005, mainly because they own the Historic Faison House that I am involved with.)

 Dutifully, as instructed, I purchased five-gallon containers to plant the devils but put one in a larger ceramic pot in the yard. Despite life-saving measures, the latter almost disintegrated during a late spring freeze. (Y’all, promise. I did cover it with a bucket, plastic wrap, and towels. At least a few leaves are beginning to show.)

 My attempts at nursing back a potato chip cactus caught in a different cold snap that was degrees lower than the weather pundits predicted seem to be paying off. Many others, though, I jerked up and threw away. Truly, tomorrow is another day.

 Currently, I’m mourning the death of my forty-five-year-old kalanchoe plant my mother bought when my first daughter was born. Fortunately, my daughter’s offshoot is thriving so I will bring a piece of it back and start over.

 Then, foolishly, I bought two Cherokee heritage tomato plants at the garden club sale! And why Cherokee heritage? The name called to me. Turns out this is one of the most popular heirloom tomatoes in the U.S. Glad I read a few internet articles about it because I’d have probably thrown them out when I saw their awkward bulges and tones of brown, green, and purple. Hopefully, they will taste as good as advertised.

 Seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking. They are now sitting on my porch in containers, with chicken wire wrapped around the buckets. A sprinkling of deer and raccoon repellent completed my handiwork.

 I’m still a bit concerned and thinking about buying some fox urine for the plants. The raccoons frequent my house, regularly leaving scat and footprints. I’m sure they would love a juicy tomato. Fears that a long-running battle will erupt with the masked bandits similar to my mouse wars has me quaking in my boots.

 Now, I’ve got to tackle the deer who are eating the tops of the bur oak trees I planted from acorns. If the repellent doesn’t work, I’ll go to plan B and raise the fence around them higher.

 Hats off to all of you with green thumbs, particularly my son-in-law’s mother who posts gorgeous pictures of her profusion of flowers. I’m envious of your skills and abilities! My one consolation is that the fresh mint sure tastes good in my mint juleps.


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