Winter has arrived in South Carolina. Because I’ve been a little preoccupied with writing, my yearly routine is out of sync. My first clue came last night when Garage Guy (GG) went into the backyard with a flashlight. Next thing I know, he’s dug out his fabricated aluminum hoops and drop cloths to cover his garden.

What? *Cue frantic scrambling to pull up the Weather Channel* Oh. That’s why.

So today, I postponed writing to prepare for the annual rite of passage – bringing the outdoor potted plants to overwinter in the house. Garage Guy despises this ritual.


GG, grumbling: “Why do we have to have the house full of oversized green stuff?”

Me: “One, it makes me happy and you like making me happy. Two, it keeps me from buying new ones every year and that would cut into your golf budget.”

End of discussion.


I have 2 Kimberly Queen ferns I have salvaged this way for almost 20 years. I do have a pretty good track record for growing things. As an undergraduate, I took a horticulture class for kicks and giggles. An easy elective. HA. They lied. I received an ‘A’ in the class. But I also ended up with over 100 plants in my 2 bedroom apartment. My roommate loved me. At least, I tell myself that.

Over the following years, most of those plants died as I schlepped them around the country during assorted moves for my career. Imagine the look on the United Van Lines movers’ faces as they scanned an entire room full of plants.


“You sure you want to take all of these to Oklahoma, lady?”


Note to self: some plants don’t travel well.


Now, my green thumb has come back to bite me in the ass. Hard. I’ve learned not to trust anything written on those little tags stuck in plants. You know, the ones with the proper light and water requirements along with the maximum height of the mature plant? I have yet to plant one of those that ended up at the detailed size. It wouldn’t be so bad if we were just talking about small houseplants. No, I’m also referring to flowers, bushes and trees.

Maybe my earlier horticulture class did me a disservice because literally everything I plant in my yard outgrows its space. Perhaps it’s my homemade compost. Or maybe water in the South is different. I don’t know.

I do know Garage Guy growls at me every time he has to prune the overgrown greenery in the yard. (I could do it but it would take away from my writing).  ;D  So I am sensitive to his feelings about bringing plants into the house.

While outside giving the potted plants a bath, haircut and a good soaking, I pondered the lifespan of all five plants. The 2 ferns already mentioned. I like them because they shed less than other species of ferns. Two peace lilies salvaged from my mother. They’ve been split and repotted multiple times due to excessive growth. (See a pattern yet?)

Then there is the mother of all aloe vera plants. Seriously. This plant is so large and produces such copious offspring it’s a struggle to keep it contained. I routinely remove babies and gift them to anyone who breathes. I’ve also cut the mother in half in order to avoid having to plant her in a pot the size of a small Volkswagon. I’ve even searched for plant birth control to no avail. (If you know of any, shoot me a message. Please.)


Monster Aloe Vera
Image by Lucy Lit

So, Garage Guy kept his cucumbers alive for another night. The large potted plants are inside, hopefully spider free. That’s why they get a good soaking outside first. Don’t need another thing for Garage Guy to complain about.


GG: “The cat’s playing with a spider that crawled out of the f*#king plant.”



Why don’t I just keep something small in the house, you ask? Like African Violets?

They are the one plant I kill by looking at them. Seriously. I cannot grow one to save my life. Every African Violet in the world knows if I purchase them, they’re guaranteed to die within 3 months. They shake in their pots when I walk by. I see it.

Now I just keep going. It’s for their own good.




Posted in: Family.
Last Modified: February 14, 2014