Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Triumphant Saga of Bill Murray

I might have mentioned before that there are three big planter pots on my porch. If I did mention it, it was probably in same (figurative) breath as the fact that I am am incredibly skilled at killing plants, especially rosemary. Last summer, my planter pots contained strawberries, lavender, and rosemary (because I love it and always want to grow it). I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lavender and strawberries survived the winter, and completely unsurprised when my rosemary failed entirely to thrive past October. That particular pot sat empty save for the corpse of my rosemary plant all winter and Benjy developed the unsavory habit of dumping the ashes from his grill and smoker into the pot. This summer, I decided to plant a patio tomato in the empty pot. I named him Bill Murray because I thought I'd be more interested in keeping him alive if he had a name. I carefully dug out all of Benjy's grill ashes and charcoal and planted Bill Murray in the remaining dirt.
He looked pretty happy for a few days but it soon became clear that something was terribly wrong. His leaves started looking withered and scorched and it was clear that poor Bill Murray was close to going the way of the rosemary. Benjy was either feeling guilty about the charcoal or just irritated by the sick tomato plant ruining the beauty of the porch because he kept bugging me to do something about Bill Murray. I thought the poor guy was beyond help but I gave in and went to Walmart to get a bag of dirt. The first thing I learned is that dirt is only sold in giant bags that are entirely too heavy for me to carry up three flights of stairs. The second bit of knowledge I was gifted with is that it's a good idea to ask your husband to carry said bag of dirt upstairs before he sprays himself with dark tanning oil (not even joking) and sits out on his sunny porch. Not only was the bag too heavy for me to carry upstairs, it was nearly too heavy and slippery for me to upend into my pot. Nonetheless I cut a hole in the top corner of the bag and valiantly struggled with it until I managed to maneuver it in place. It was at this point that I discovered the hole I cut in the top of the bag was too small to let the dirt pour out. I finally managed to get the dirt into the pot via a technique I like to call "madly stabbing the bag of dirt with a pair of scissors."
As you can see, dirt ended up everywhere. It was actually fine because I had too much dirt in the pot after everything was said and done and had to carefully carry the extra dirt over to top off my other pots. You can infer from this that I ended up with as much dirt on myself and the porch as I did anywhere else. I also have to add that before I could put new dirt in the pot, I had to get rid of the old dirt. The end of this process found me covertly hauling trash bags full of old charcoal filled dirt down three flights of stairs and into the back yard and dumping it into a corner. I'm pretty sure I looked deranged at best and like I was disposing of a body at worst. All of this work resulted in a sick Bill Murray perched inside a pot filled with shiny new dirt.
He still looked bad the next day so I cut off all of his branches that looked sick so that he could better direct his resources to keeping the rest of himself alive. I didn't take a picture because he looked so pathetic and for a week or two I was still pretty sure that poor Bill Murray wasn't going to make it. I definitely used this as a reason to make Groundhog's Day jokes at parties because I am a scintillating conversationalist (i.e. deluded enough to think that anyone else gives a damn about my patio tomato plant). But finally, he grew fuzzy new leaves and started to perk up. And now, his first tomato is turning red! I'm so proud!
And yes, of course I've named my strawberry plant Steve Martin and my lavender Dan Akroyd. Why do you ask?

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