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The long running joke in my family is that I absolutely suck at gardening. No matter how much I want to have a nice landscape with flowers, container gardens and indoor plants, there are very few plants that I can actually own and keep alive. I’m not really sure why I’m so bad at growing plants but it seems to be a sad pattern in my reality.
This summer, in addition to my decision to PR my next 5K in December which is requiring a renewed dedication to actual running and swimming training (and not just lots of easy runs), I tried a new gardening method that I developed. I named it “Ice Gardening.” A friend commented once that she “waters” her orchids with ice cubes. I have three orchids that had beautiful flowers when I first got them but later turned into greenish/brown stalks. When my friend suggested watering with ice, I gave it a try and two of my three orchids BLOOMED! I was completely shocked. But, ice worked.
As spring rolled around, I once again trotted off to the store to find flowers for my hanging containers on the front porch. This time, I thought that I would try seeds. I had tried seeds in the past and they were a complete bust, but I thought that with my new gardening idea, it just might work. My daughter, who I will call Negative Nelly, firmly believed that I could not grow the seeds into stems and certainly not into flowers. So, while Negative Nelly kept telling me that I would never grow anything, I became more determined to prove her wrong!
One sunny April day, armed with my potting soil, gardening gloves and trowel, I set out to work. Partly, because Negative Nelly was at school and couldn’t make fun of me. I cleaned out the remnants of past failed flowers and threw out the dirt that looked gross. I tilled up the dirt that still looked okay and added more. I use the kind of potting soil that has fertilizer to help me out.
I had Cosmos, Pansies and Vanilla Carnations (I think). I honestly can’t remember the third type but the name started with Vanilla because they are usually a deeper yellow than these and (spoiler alert) they did look like carnations. My neighbor came over and asked what I was doing and as I told him about my ice gardening plans he seemed fairly positive that it would work. He did say that my pansies wouldn’t make it because South Carolina is just too hot for those delicate flowers and (second spoiler alert) he was right.
Regardless of Negative Nelly and the predictions that my pansies were doomed, I pressed on and planted my seeds equally in two separate pots. I covered them in ice and let the sun do it’s thing. The ice melted, the soil stayed damp and I was hopeful. My hypothesis (okay, I AM a scientist) was that regular watering does not seep into the soil slow enough to promote seed growth. Every day following, I dutifully put a thick layers of ice cubes on the soil. Over the course of a few weeks, the seeds began to sprout and those sprouts (for the most part) turned into stalks and in July a miracle occurred.
Of course, where was Negative Nelly so that I could rub that flower in her face? She was at cross country camp a state away of course! I did take a nice picture and texted it to her. I think it got some response like, “Good for you. Is that the only one?”
I did get a few more flowers. Both my cosmos and vanilla carnations bloomed on a few stalks and I had some pretty flowers for a few days here and there in July and August. I’m not sure if this proves my hypothesis, but I’m going to assume that it does. Because, after all, I DID get some flowers.
If you want my secret, I don’t really have one. It was a fun experiment but it sure did seem to work!