Mr. Rathbone, I Presume?

This is the time of year we would be frantic for signs of spring when we lived in Minnesota.  It didn’t help when southern friends would drop comments of daffodils blooming in their gardens, for the only spots of yellow in our snow-covered yard were dog pee.

(Just as an aside, would you believe that when all those heavy snows finally melted, months later, the grass was dead underneath those spots?  Dog pee is powerful!  No wonder dogs take so much time sniffing a fire hydrant.  It’s a freakin’ convention!)

Sometimes on those really cold weekends, we’d go out for Sunday Brunch at a galleria and stroll around to look for signs of spring in the shop windows.  Smith and Hawkins was a favorite spot, with its lovely plants and floral smells.   On two occasions we bought blooming orchids.  Each time, the clerk wrapped the plant and I put it under my coat, cradling it against my chest like a newborn.   Dearly Beloved would get the car and pick me up a few steps from the door.  Both orchids survived and we still have them all these years later.

They haven’t bloomed since.

I’ve tried fertilizing, repotting, different windows, misting, but nothing has worked.  (Not that I’m sure any of those was the right thing to do!)  This year, with all of our cloudy days, even my other houseplants have begun to look sickly.  I decided that intensive care was in order.

I pulled out an old Natural Spectrum Daylight lamp and set it on a small stand on an open shelf in my bathroom.  I arranged the potted plants in a wooden box and put it by the light on the shelf  so that the plants could read all night if they wanted.  With the bathroom door closed, it stays delightfully warm in there.  I hoped the steam from baths would provide enough humidity.

The beefsteak begonia I rooted this summer looks a little healthier in there, but there is no change in the orchids.  No blooms, no new growth.  My bathroom hospital does have one success story,  for one sickly plant I took into my bathroom as a last resort is now thriving.

Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where George Constanza took a very expensive art book into the bookstore bathroom and was subsequently forced to buy it ?  The book was forever coded as a “bathroom book” so he couldn’t return it, couldn’t even donate it.   His crudeness was ridiculed by everyone.

You may not want to have dinner at our house on Italian night.  That plant that has done so well in the bathroom. . . ?

That’s basil.


6 thoughts on “Mr. Rathbone, I Presume?

  1. I just finished a full two hours of crying while I was watching the Robert Deniro movie….
    Everybody’s Fine…..or Everything’s Fine….I don’t know but the movie wasn’t fine it was a real tear jerker…..not just certain scenes….the whole freakin movie… it was a nice change seeing you had posted and I got a nice before bed laugh….so thank you….and maybe you should try having the dog pee on the orchid plant….You never know that might just make it bloom!

  2. I have houseplants that are 35 years old but I never had luck with orchids. Maybe they need tropical climate conditions..heat, humidity, just the right slant of light?
    Bathroom basil may become the next culinary rage .. don’t let Mario Batali know about it!

  3. I’ve decided that in order to enjoy orchids you have to have dozens of them. Year after year of looking at ugly plants in order to get those lovely blossoms. If you have enough of them you’ll always have something blooming.

    I’m going to start some basil in my bathroom. So glad you mentioned it. And since the guests don’t use it, they will have no idea where it came from.

  4. unabridgedgirl

    Actually, I am jealous that you can garden! LoL EVEN in the house. Look at you – – gardening, knitting…I’ve always wanted to try to garden, but I can’t even keep potted flowers alive.

    PS The comment about dog pee cracked me up.

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