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When the gardener can't garden

Grow Write GuildGayla Trail over at You Grow Girl has been blogging recently about an illness that has kept her from her garden this year, and how that makes her feel. This inspired her to restart her Grow Write Guild series of writing prompts by asking gardeners to write about a time when they were unable to garden, for whatever reason.

This is my attempt.

Jade Plant Casualties

Houseplants in the yardIn early spring, although my wife was not well enough to move our eighty or a hundred houseplants outdoors for the summer, she was still cognizant enough to realize that it had to be done. It was one of our normal spring chores. So I moved the plants outdoors myself. They would fend for themselves until we brought them indoors in the late fall.

It must have rained heavily that spring, unnoticed by those facing their own issues indoors. The jungle that was our backyard thrived. The ferns grew like the weeds that they are and the spider plants, liriope, elephant ears, caladiums and castor bean plants all did well. Most of the houseplants - those of the tropical variety like the schefflera and philodendron that needed shade and moisture - did well, too.

We would have normally noticed the jades. We had about six or seven and they were all about one to two and a half feet in diameter. All of them were getting too much water and some were in pots that drained poorly.

But she was too weak to move from the recliner in the living room for any reason; much less to tend to the plants in the yard. I was busy with household chores: cooking and cleaning, trips to the hospital and doctors' offices, coordinating home care and then hospice visits.

So the thick stems and succulent leaves of the jade plants grew mushy. The stems were no longer able to support themselves. The leaves wilted.

By the end of July, when I returned from the memorial services, and was able to take stock of the situation with all of the plants in the yard, I discovered that the jade plants were too far gone and unable to recover.

Later, when I could motivate myself to do it, I pulled up the sodden masses from their large pots and tossed them in the compost bin.

Another casualty of another's illness.

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