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  • Writer's pictureSophia Huang

Part 2: P is for poor plant

Now I have a confession to make. I love greenery and nature (I have to right, being the author of the Nature Playtime Series?), but since I’ve moved into my first home over the last seven years, I’ve not successfully kept plants alive. Keeping my two little humans alive has become my top priority, superseding all else. There was that one iron plant that lasted nearly a year but succumbed eventually. Tell me, who kills the hardy iron plant? There’s hardly any sun in my house too. Then there was that pot of tropical leaves that I had to bring to my mom’s place to be rescued after half the leaves started to yellow (now it has even sprouted new shoots at her place). I’m not even going to bother to tell you about the rest. Except for Mr Fluffy. Now you may remember from part 1 that I had obtained a little leftover plant which my friend Alf didn’t even bother to look at for a year. It came to me in a small plastic container, along with a red butterfly wing companion. Friend apologised for its sorry and small state, but I was happy I even had something to show the kids for storytelling four days later. “I really hope I don’t kill it,” I told said friend. “Four days with me should be ok lah huh? I’m not a good plant nanny. I keep humans alive. "I’m more confident of keeping your kids alive than your plants.” Friend seemed pretty chill. After all, who kills a plant in four days? The daughter was excited to see it. “Why don’t you give it a name?” “Fluffy,” she said, so it stuck. We brought Fluffy home, plonked him on the window sill (my home has zero sun), and watched him closely. “I’m seriously worried about your plant now, all the leaves closed up!” read my emergency SOS text to my friend.

“It’s nighttime,” he said. “They close at night? Like these plants actually go to sleep? So humanoid!” I said. I was so excited to tell the children! Mr Fluffy actually went to sleep at night. How sweet. You may recall from Part 1 that I read that mimosas don’t do well with overwatering and soggy soil, so I took care to use the spray can on the plant but I forgot the weather was really hot and windy. Two days passed. By the third morning, the inevitable happened. Mr Fluffy was no longer fluffy and verdant but darkened and weak.

I had killed it. His companion, the red butterfly wing, was turning green and yellow, instead of the pretty deep purple it once was. Seriously, how does one kill a plant in three days? My friend NEGLECTED IT FOR A YEAR and it survived. This is probably going to be a running joke between us for years to come. Poor plant. I was seriously depressed about it. On the bright side, I had found a whole trove of ripe touch-me-not seeds and gave them to my friend to replace the one I killed.

I brought Mr Fluffy back to my friend immediately in hopes that he will somehow manage to revive it. The red butterfly wing will probably bounce back. The first thing Alf said when he saw his mangled plants was, “eh you underwatered it lah”. Sigh, like I said, I’m not a good plant nanny. Well, we learn, we learn. Sometimes the only way to learn is by making mistakes, and learning not to be so harsh on ourselves. Read about how my kids and I planted the touch-me-nots in part 3!

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