How is it that even my fake flowers die off?

Over a decade ago, I thought I would give gardening a try. Well, it was balcony gardening in Berkeley. Everyone in the Bay area is growing something there, if you get my drift. I didn’t fancy myself a gardener or envisioned myself having any type of green thumb. We went to Home Depot got a rack for the balcony, some pots and some plants to grow. I’m not going to lie to you. Every single one of the plants we got was a cactus. Those are hardy and as such don’t need me to have a green thumb. Plus, I find cacti to be beautiful. For that reason, I found the island nation of Curacao to be fascinating. At the western end of the island there are scores of cacti. It looks the Martian frontiers-land.



Not that it really does but you get my drift. There’s something soothing about a cactus despite its prickly nature. Sort of like Al Bundy in Married with Children.

Thus, in Berkeley our balcony was filled with a cactus of every shape and form. My mom wondered why I would have plants when they are likely to die. I thought my mom was being a bit pessimistic and prickly just like a cactus. She hated plants. Rather she hated taking care of plants. She preferred to decorate with fake flowers as that was sustainable and low-effort. I scoffed at such a way of thinking of plants. I was determined to have my balcony garden. I was in sunny California, after all. It’s a state meant to grow things. My balcony did well for a few months. Although I hardly ever stepped out onto the balcony as the car fumes below were annoying. But perhaps if I had stepped out to hang with my cacti a bit more. Our car wouldn’t have been stolen from right underneath. Anyway, slowly but surely the plants started to look pretty badly off. I couldn’t remember when I had watered them. And California’s long standing drought didn’t help matters. Eventually all my plants died off. I didn’t try planting for another 8 years later when I bought my house in New York.

We were so excited to landscape our house. Then we came to realize we were still no good at gardening. I bought a fake Daisy and placed it on our top floor hallway windowsill. My mom loved it. I tolerated it.

Now we have moved Cross Country and live in a high rise in Los Angeles. We have two balconies in sunny southern California. Hmm. No. We went and bought fake flowers that are my favorite colors of pink and red. They look awesome.

They looked awesome. What we didn’t take into account is the morning haze, the far-traveling wildfires soot and overall dirty nature of Los Angeles. Luckily our flowers are fake as this would just be too much to bear. Our balcony flowers appear dead yet again.




5 replies »

  1. I couldn’t get anything to grow in So Cal either, at least outdoors where one would expect that to be easy. I did grow a couple of indoor plants that sprouted while suspended by toothpicks in a cup of water. One of them was a potato and the other one was an avocado pit. Your son might like to try one of these with you.
    Spouse, who grew up in a rural area, working on local farms and tending his family’s garden, is the one with the green thumb, or at least the right experience. We lived by the beach but grew some great cacti in our yard. There was one in the corner of our backyard behind the swimming pool motor. It was so difficult to reach that we could not have done anything to tend it if we had wanted to. That thing just grew and grew. By the time we sold that house I’d say it was well over ten feet tall and was a great sentry to guard against trespassing by unfriendly and annoying neighbors!


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