I don't need to be super garden savvy. Living in Toronto means I have a deck in lieu of a backyard, and odds are I'm never going to be the type to successfully grow my own food. However, it would be awfully nice to be able to keep my African Violet, which I have been slowly killing over the past two years only to nurse it back to health and start the process all over again, blooming.
I should have known not to take on this plant. When my husband brought it home, complete with velvety leaves and deep purple flowers, I already had an unfortunate track record.
During university, a friend was leaving the province and was kind enough to leave me three of his well-tended houseplants. By the end of week one, the first plant (which I suspect must have been on the way out before it landed on my doorstep) was withered and unrecognizable. I still claim this was in no way my fault, though, on some level, I will admit that a lack of sunlight and water probably didn't help.
The other two began their demise more slowly. Some days, all three roommates would lavish them with attention, turning them to the sun and filling their pots with water. Other times, days (or weeks) would pass until someone (often a guest) would take pity on the poor plants. Once all the leaves had fallen off and there was only the slightest glimmer of hope for survival, I passed the care of the two hard-done-by plants to my grandmother, who nurtured them back to health. I'm happy to report that they're thriving, far, far, away from me.
And, as for my African Violet, I'll keep trying. It actually bloomed last summer, which almost fooled me into thinking I had cared for it properly. Then, slowly, the flowers and the leaves began wilting and dying. Now, I've got a few healthy leaves left, so I'm hoping not all is lost.
Maybe some day, I'll pick up the Botanicalls kit ($100 on ThinkGeek) that connects your beloved houseplants to the internet, allowing it to alert the whole Twitterverse when you leave it gasping for breath or drown it.
In the meantime, I'll keep my houseplant count at one (or half, if only having a few leaves doesn't really count as a full plant).