Me and My Not-So-Green Thumb

With my niece's third birthday approaching, I took my daughter with me to pick out a gift.

"What do you want to get her for her birthday?" I asked my little girl as we headed into Walmart.

"A flower," my daughter said. 

At first I laughed, envisioning sending a dozen roses to a 3-year-old, but I very quickly realized that her idea was actually a pretty good one. We picked out a toy and a couple of books, then headed over to the Lawn & Garden department to find the seed-pot combos designed for young children. Before I became a mom, I'd buy sunflower seeds in Dixie-cup-type planters for my nephews each spring, but as they got older and started favoring playing Xbox over watching sunflowers grow, I quit, and eventually forgot all about them.

When my daughter and I got to the Lawn & Garden area, we found a daisies and zinnias in planters featuring Disney characters. I asked my daughter which she wanted for her cousin — she chose the daisies — then I let her pick one for herself — she picked the zinnias.

When we got home that day, she and I sat down at the kitchen table and followed the directions for the zinnias. Each day afterward, I checked them, and I was very pleased when after just a couple of days, sprouts started to show. I pointed them out to my daughter. She seemed unimpressed, but I knew once they got bigger, she'd get the idea. In the meantime, I wanted her to experience taking care of them, so I gave her a cup with a tiny amount of water in it to pour into the planter.

Even though there wasn't much water in the cup I gave her, I became worried right away that I'd given her too much. The soil was slightly moist before she put the water in. Bits of dirt were floating around afterward. Sure enough, two days later, the sprouts had disappeared.

The photo shows planter No. 2, which looked like it had too much water in it as soon as I prepared it, so I don't know if this one will ever show signs of life. Why this one seemed over-watered from the get-go is beyond me. Perhaps it came with less dirt in it, or maybe it's because I used a dry measuring cup rather than a liquid measuring cup (though I've never understood — is there really a difference? And if so, why there is a difference. Why isn't a cup just a cup?)

I'm going to give it another day or so, and then I'll buy planter No. 3, but if that one doesn't work, I'm done for this year. But I'm still in love with the idea, so I'd like to give it a try again next year so that she can see one grow.

No word from my sister-in-law on how the daisies are doing (or if they've even planted them yet).

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