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Saga of the not-so-green thumb

By By Leada DeVaney
I've never had much of a green thumb. I do well to have two or three plants that stay alive for more than a couple of months.
I've even killed cactuses. I think I over watered them.
I guess that's why I got so flustered last weekend when I went with some members of my family to a nursery in Huntsville.
It was one of the fancy kinds of nurseries, featuring all sorts of specialty plants. Each plant had its own little sign, telling all about it and where it would grow best, how often to water it, etc.
It seems that if you follow these directions, the plants might actually stay alive. Who knew?
While my mother, brother and sister-in-law discussed the merits of different types of plants, I just led my two nephews around, throwing sticks at things. (We were bored, OK?)
Feeling sort of left out of the adult conversation (and tired of the disapproving looks from shoppers wondering why we were throwing sticks at things) I started to look around at the plants.
There were big plants.
And little plants.
Some with flowers.
Some with leaves.
All of which appeared delicate – meaning I could kill them easily.
"Try these," my mother said. "They will look nice in front of your house and they don't require a lot of work."
She knows me well.
They were small bushy plants with little pink flowers. They were called "Lipstick Impatiens."
Lipstick. At last, a term I was familiar with.
I bought them.
I was standing there with my two little cartons of lipstick plants when my sister-in-law wheels up her wagon o'plants.
She had enough plants to open her own botanical garden. I wonder if she knows she has to put them in the ground when she gets home.
I knew it threw me for a loop the first time I found that out.
"He (the expert plant man) recommended I put these around the pine tree in the front yard," my mother said, pointing at some plant that had a name as long as my arm.
"That's what I would suggest," I replied, acting like I knew what I was talking about.
I sat down outside the nursery and waited for Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Jr. to finish up with their plant purchases. My 4-year-old nephew Isaac wandered up and sat down beside me. He picked up a stick and threw it. I picked up another one and threw it, too.
I may not understand plants, but I do understand stick throwing. It's a lot more fun anyway.

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