Anyone Else Ever Inherit an Onion



Here’s the thing, most people inherit money, jewelry, real estate, not me, no I inherited an onion. Oh, yes I did. Now, it’s not normal to have a fear of houseplants. Or is it? Houseplants make me nervous. I mean they’re beautiful and alive and help put oxygen in the air and all that but . . . and here’s the problem—I routinely kill them. I don’t mean too. I really try to nurture them, water them, talk to them, give them sunlight and yet, they still turn brown and die. My green thumb is black and cloaked in despair. Up until now I’ve managed quite nicely with zero plants in my home. But that’s changed and I’m quite frantic.


Right now I have three plants that are making me very, very nervous. These plants I inherited after my mom, Flossie died in November. Now I know what you are thinking, so what, they’re just plants. Give them away if you can’t keep them alive—it’s not like they’re toddlers or . . . dogs. But, here’s the thing, these plants come with a legacy. That’s right a botanical legacy that reaches back into my childhood.


The first of these plants is the ONION. That’s right, the ONION. This onion has been in the family for over sixty years! My mother said she received it from a woman who told it was old then—over sixty years ago. So you see, this onion, this pregnant onion as y other called it, has been part of my life—forever. And it’s pregnant! It’s always pregnant. You see it develops these little bulges that burst and send forth another teeny, tiny onion that then drops into the soil below and hopefully takes root, grows, matures and carries on the process. To date I have no idea how many generations of onion have come from this one, original onion. But now it is in my possession and I’m scared to death it’s going to die. I promised Flossie I’d care for it. But it’s not looking too good. I look at it and worry. I water it and worry. I pull brown dead stuff off it and worry. I give it light and worry. I shield it from the light and worry. It’s extremely nerve-wracking to own an eighty year-old onion. I was wondering if some botanical museum would like it.

Along with the onion I became the proud mother of this giant Crown of Thorns plant, tree cactus thing. Now it’s not as old as the onion. But it’s just as famous. My mother ahs one several blue ribbons in plant competitions for it. And now, alas, it’s in my care. It’s making me very nervous. I’m trying to do right by it. I’ve rearranged my living room to accommodate it, so that it would receive optimal sunlight. I’ve read about it. How can you tell if a succulent is dormant? I can’t. I water it, I don’t water it. I spritz its leaves. I’ve considered installing a plant light. I know the thing enjoys distress. It is a cactus after all. A succulent. Everyday I watch another leaf turn yellow, wither and fall to the ground. It makes me said. I put my mother’s picture near it, hoping it would help. Not so much.

So there you have it. My saga of the houseplant inheritance. A couple of bucks would have been better—that I can deal with. I could really use some advice.

7 comments:

Ramona Richards said...

I'd love to help, but my thumb is as black as yours. I used to lie to my plant-wunderkind mother about the now-dead plants she'd given me, then gave up. She even brought one BACK to life that I'd killed. The worst was when I managed to slaughter a cactus that had been given to us at my dad's funeral.

Good luck with that onion. I'd definitely be looking into that museum thing...

Caroline said...

LOL
Short on the advice. Sorry!

Marti Pieper said...

I have a green thumb for outside plants, but those mysterious inside ones?--not so much.

On the succulent: I read about someone who also had a black thumb but watched the weather report for an Arizona desert. When it rained there, she watered her cactus. It worked.

At least it's an idea.

Chris Loehmer said...

Sorry, but I am absolutely no help either. My sister had an ivy for years, which I inherited when she died. I think it lasted a couple months in my house. I have a few plants - like I know what they are? - which I pretty hardy. I water them when they start to wilt and that's about all I do for them. Anything more than that is beyond me. Good luck, and don't sweat it too much. What will be, will be.

Pam Halter said...

I kill house plants, too.

But here's an idea. Let's make cheesesteaks!! ;)

Diana said...

Go with Marti's advice- I heard that one before-
I inherited my Dads car- He died Dec 10th fell ill over Thanksgiving.
It is a Subaru and 9 news newer than my Honda. It has a Cracked windshield and needs other repairs. I have lain awake at night over the decision to keep it, transfer the title- sell my Honda and put it on our insurance. Yet I want it because it was my Dads and I want to hold onto everything that was his. Someday I will part with all the little things I scarfed up before my brothers packed things off to Goodwill, but I need these things around me right now.
BTW Are you scheduled for a Spring release? Can wait.

Joyce Magnin said...

Diana, I am so sorry about your Dad. I know what you mean about hanging on to things. It's tough being an orphan. And yes. Spring Release--Griselda Takes Flight.