I am not a plant person. Example? I won an orchid once. It wasn’t long before No Name (that was its name) looked like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. I kept the potted brown twig for several months, then gave it to a friend who volunteered to take it. The next time I saw it, it was green and blooming.
I tried again. I asked Nancy, the nursery lady, one question: What are the heartiest, lowest-of-the-low-maintenance succulents here?”
Nancy sent me home with a squid agave and two fire sticks. This time, I decided to give them real names. Larry, Curly, and Moe? Too obvious. Aramis, Athos, and Porthos? Too obscure. Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato? Why, perfect!
Tomato’s plastic container fit perfectly inside a decorative ceramic pot, but Bacon and Lettuce needed larger pots. I, of course, had neglected to purchase potting soil, but look—here was some leftover sand the hardware guy once recommended to help secure my outdoor umbrella in a tin bucket. Fire sticks are desert plants, they like sand, right? So I mixed the sand in their potting soil and proudly transplanted.
After a week or so, Bacon and Lettuce started turning black. “Black Euphorbia?” said Nancy Nursery Lady. “I never heard of that. Was there something in the sand?” I go home and check the label on the sandbag. It read:
This article was published originally in 2021, in GreenPrints Issue #125.