Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ow! Sticky

My mother loved succulents. She was fascinated by all different kinds of cactus. She always had at least one little pot with a cactus in the house.

She was especially fascinated by a hen and chicks plant that grew at my grandmother's house. Grandma being Grandma refused to let my mother take a cutting. Mom being Mom would not take one without permission. It was years before she got one from someone else. We did not live there long enough to see the chicks begin to spread.

One year Mom decided to plant a garden of cactus around the base of one of our trees. I do not remember if she planted cactus or seeds. I suspect it was the plants.

She faithfully tended her little garden. Since it was newly planted she gave it a little water every morning. She watched it carefully.

The garden was not thriving. All the plants looked dead. Thinking that perhaps she was giving it too much water she watered it only every other day. Still her garden was dying.

Finally Mom gave up. That was not like her but she realized that this was not a garden she could grow. She gave up on her garden and felt a great sense of failure.

Then came the day she went to get some vegetables from the regular garden. She glanced at her failed cactus garden. It was gloriously alive.

She learned that in order for them to grow she had to ignore them.


  1. The story about your mother and the cactus garden illustrated a good point, Emma, as you said. Also, I suspected that eprhaps she was overdoing the watering, but then she was anxious for her little garden to survive and glad to learn it did when she let it be.

  2. One size doesn't fit all, as they say.

  3. Ellie believes in "benign neglect" and she has had good success with orchids and various cacti by pretty much ignoring them..

    1. Ellie is wise. I have no luck at all with plants other than the ones I eat from the garden.

  4. awe :)
    this was uniquely informative one dear Emma :)
    i felt for your mom when your grandma refused to give her cutting ,but she found it eventually and watered excitedly which wasn't needed so plant thrived when she left it alone .wow i might have not got it as well until plant explained he need less water :)

    1. My father's mother was not a nice person. She particularly enjoyed hurting my mother's feelings. My mother persevered and got her hen and chicks plant without help from Grandma.