A lot of the time when I'm showing people around my studio and I gesture around, what I’m really saying is “Look at all these plants I haven’t killed.” I am obscenely proud of the fact that I haven’t killed my plants yet because I have a long dark history of killing houseplants. The first plant I killed was a spider plant that my Grandma bought for me from the plant sale at Cliffe Castle. It lasted a little while and was generally doing well until I knocked it down the back of the washing machine. I tried to get it back out but I couldn’t reach it, I went to tell a grown up but I got distracted on route and forgot all about it. My mum found it months later, this desiccated brown thing that was starting to smell.
|My cactus will be four this summer. |
We will have a huge birthday bash 'cause cacti love to party.
Next, I had a cactus also bought by my Grandma from the plant stall at Cliffe Castle to replace the spider plant whose loss was inexplicably a huge blow to me. The cactus thrived under my neglectful care and about six months in it sprouted these spectacular purple flowers. I was chuffed and with a head swollen by unearned compliments on my skills as a gardener I dedicated myself to tending the cactus. The cactus died from over watering pretty quickly after that.
I did not have any plants of my own for a while after that but I still managed to spread destruction in my wake. My mum planted a nasturtium in the front garden and I got wind that they are edible. Over the course of one week, I ate every single flower.
|All the good plants die young.|
In the autumn that followed the delicious nasturtium summer, me and my friend found two tiny oak trees in the field behind our house. It did not occur to us that anyone could have planted the oak trees and we dug them out of the ground with our hands to ‘protect them from cows.’ We each took one home and planted them in plant pots. I don’t know what treatment my friend’s tree received but I tended mine every night, watering it with as much water I could fit in the can whilst also being able to lift it and packing the soil flat with my hands. I kept digging it back up to ‘check on the roots.’. I loved the idea of being able to point out a mighty oak tree that I tended practically from an acorn to future generations. Shockingly the tree didn’t make it.
|If plant killing was a crime and my life was a cowboy film |
this is what the wanted poster for me would look like.
You can add to that total a yearly massacre of poinsettias and hyacinths not to mention the ill-advised mystery plant from my second year of Uni. When you consider my gardening history in this light it is unsurprising that I was kicked out of the allotment society. I always thought I was because all I ever wanted to grow was pumpkins but maybe they got a look at my rap sheet.