Typically, I have a black thumb. At our last apartment, I vowed to change my ways. I was adamant that our balcony would become a lush paradise. I dreamed of our own little secret garden, fifty one stories above the world.
I dragged Jeezy to the garden centre and asked the clerk for a plant that was difficult to kill. He pointed me to the Osmanthus plants and in broken English he said “Uhhhh, very easy, very hard to kill.” Apparently he underestimated my ability to kill things. I was given simple instructions, paid and had it delivered to my home. Two weeks later it was dry as a bone. Dead. That was the end of paradise.
We recently moved to an apartment across town. Just outside the door we have a strange planter box, the size of a small balcony. It was full of dry, clay-like soil, weeds and the skeleton of a bush that flourished long ago. I planned on keeping it that way.
Not long after we were settled into our new flat, Jeezy suggested that we put the top of our pineapple in the planter box. It didn’t matter to me, I had no intention of going near that planter box. To my surprise, it didn’t die.
Weeks later, we had a few left over spring onions from the wet market, roots attached. I decided to throw them in the garden. They flourished. Months later, the left over cilantro was planted. The seeds of a pepper, the sprig of spinach that didn’t make it into dinner, it all went into the soil. One dreary morning, I noticed a little bud on that dry bush. The buds turned into leaves and as I passed the garden, I smelled a familiar scent. Upon closer inspection, that bush was in fact an Osmanthus plant. I may have killed one but I reincarnated another.
Between Jeezy and I, we have remembered to water the kitchen scraps most days and our garbage garden is growing into a beautiful garden. In fact, we spotted a little bee buzzing around the flowers of the spring onions. Perhaps my thumb is changing colour.