Thursday, June 18, 2009

Killer queen

Before I had Eve I had some serious reservations about my ability to keep living things alive. Pets had a bit of a habit of dying on me (I didn't mean to drop the guinea pug, honest), and I was hopeless with plants. So much so that I didn't ever bother keeping plants. I even managed to kill of some cacti I had as a child, and that takes effort. The only pet I managed to keep alive was my pet rat, Iago, who managed to survive for three years almost exclusively on a diet of white chocolate rat buttons and sunflower seeds. In fact, I did almost manage to kill him when I once came into my bedroom to find him cowering in his cage while a cat who had made it into the house was snatching at him with a paw.

Despite this dreadful track record I seem to be doing OK with Eve. I cook all her food and she was breast fed so I can claim a certain stake in her ongoing health and growth. Finally I thought that the curse might be broken.

With some enthusiasm, therefore, I bought some new plants. I love cooking with fresh herbs so bought a basil, rosemary, and Mum bought me a chili. All were healthy and happy. Each morning Eve helps me to water them (if they need it) and it was all going so well.

Until the chili blight of June 2009. It had been looking a little bit peaky for a while but after a little prune of the dead bits it seemed to revive. For a day, until I realised it was covered in funny little bugs. H, on my advice so I can't lay the blame at her door, sprayed it with a very dilute bleach solution to kill the bugs. And the plant. I came home from work to find it limp and lifeless. Maybe, with hindsight, bleach was not so sensible. I have cut it back and have my fingers crossed.

Then the rosemary, which up until this time had been thriving, came out in sympathy and is turning brown. I've tried putting it into the sun, putting it in the shade, having it inside, having it outside, giving it more water, watering it less. Nothing, but nothing is working. I will have another dead plant before the week is out.

And so to my last hope, the basil. At the moment it is doing very well. Possibly this is because I cook with it so much that it gets a good trim a couple of times a week. Mum told me how to do this, which might also explain the success (and I have not touched it with bleach yet so that also may explain its longevity thus far). However, I am merely waiting until that turns up its toes too.

Sadly, although I seem to be able to look after a complex creature like Eve, I am still hopelessly cursed when it comes to anything else.

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