Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tulips: A long and unexpected history

On the package of tulip bulbs, you’ll almost always find some words that say, “Product of Holland”.  Holland has long been known as the exporter of tulip bulbs for us gardeners here in the US.  However, the tulip has a long history before it ever came onto Dutch soil. 

The tulip was originally a native wildflower from Central Asia.   The name tulip comes from the Turkish word tulbend, which means turban.  They were cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000 AD.  During the Ottoman Empire in Turkey of the 1500s, the sultan had the tulips cultivated for pleasure.  The tulips were first brought to Europe by Carolus Clusius, a biologist, who received some bulbs from the gardens in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey).  Once they reached Holland, the tulip bulbs became so popular that it created Tulip Mania (1636-1637).  This was a time when bulbs were bought and sold at incredibly high prices.  It became the equivalent of our gold rush with bulbs being bought and sold by the wealthy and prices skyrocketing almost overnight.  They became a symbol of wealth in an owner’s garden.  Like many other investments through history, there was the “crash” of 1637 when tulip prices plummeted.  The bulbs did not bring in the price they’d hoped, and the obsession with tulips slowed.  Prices returned to a more “normal” price.

Over the centuries, the love of tulips has come and gone in other countries, however, the Dutch remained devoted to developing and cultivating the tulip bulb.  This is why today they are associated so closely with Holland.  As you see your tulips beginning to bloom this spring, be proud of its long history.  I’m thankful that they have made it from the hills of Central Asia, to my gardens in Pennsylvania…and for only a few dollars a bag of bulbs!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Beautiful Lawn: better curb appeal

The key to a beautiful garden is having beautiful edges both inside and out.   A garden or flower bed edge can be lined with more flowers, rocks, stone edges or any other store-bought edging material.  Outside the bed, the edge of grass must look just as nice.  If your lawn is neglected, then the curb appeal will be diminished as passersby notice the poor lawn and not your beautiful garden beds.

In previous years, our family has hired a lawn service company to spray treatments of fertilizer, weed control, and anything to make our lawn greener and more lush.  Unfortunately, I was rarely satisfied.  Although the lawn looked great, their attempt to steer clear of my beds meant that weeds were always left lurking along the edges.  These same weeds eventually tip-toed over the borders and into my flower and garden beds.  Spending my summer pulling out weeds that originated from the grass was not my idea of fun.  So this year I have taken matters in to my own hands and found a few tips and common mistakes along the way.

  1. Begin your season now with the crab grass preventer.  I prefer the Scotts products and have already laid it down on our lawn.  It’s best to do this a day or two a good rainfall.
  2. Sign up for reminders about when and how to apply your lawn products. At, I signed in and recorded my first day of application for the year.  They’ll now send me reminders of when to do the next application.  It’s that easy!
  3. Buy a good drop spreader.  After researching spreaders, I found the drop spreader to be much better at application than the rotary spreader.  Sure, the rotary gets the job done faster as it sprays it out into a larger area, however, most people don’t realize you’re supposed to go back over it again in the opposite direction.  This way, you have two applications (something the commercial lawn pros don’t do either).  With a drop spreader, you cover your lawn with one “stripe” of lawn at a time, just as you would if you were mowing.  The advantage is that I can now go right up to my bed edges and get those lurking weeds. 
  4. You can spray weeds now.  Despite what I had been told in the past by companies, if you have weeds growing now (due to a warmer winter), you can spray them now.  There are many products that will kill the weeds and not the lawn.  Our neighborhood has been hijacked by chickweed but this chick has put a stop to it in her yard!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Lone Flower

As the beautiful magnolia tree bloomed this spring out my kitchen window, I watched in wonder at one small bloom.  It seemed insignificant to the others in the house and most people passing by didn’t even notice this bloom.  It started out small like the others and blossomed just the same.  I was drawn to the window every day to watch the transformation.  Why was this one so different?  Why could not take my eyes off it?  The difference with this bloom is the extra adversity it had and how it reached just the same state of beauty…maybe even more.  This small pod lasted through the winter without the protection of the other buds and smaller branches.  It sprouted from a long thick branch that had been barren of flowers for a few years.  The bloom was in a spot that the kids often climb.  How did it survive the abuse of feet climbing up and down the limb?  How did it survive a winter?  And how after all the seasonal elements did it still bloom like all the others?  The answer lies deep inside.  The magnolia flower is still a flower.  It is meant to be a flower and nothing else. It has the same makeup as the other flowers.  With persistence and determination, it grew stronger each day. 

This flower bud reminded me of a Romanian pastor, Rev. Richard Wurmbrand, who was tortured for 14 years in Communist prisons.  He stood alone for Christ through many seasons of hardship.  In his 1967 book, Tortured for Christ, he described how the Christians were tortured yet held no bitterness.  “A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its perfume.  Likewise, Christians, tortured by the communists, rewarded their torturers by love.”  A sobering thought during this Easter season.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trash-picking: Recycled Child’s Chair

While walking with a friend, I spotted a set of three children’s chairs.  The two were broken and the third was repairable.  Being the budget gardener who practices what she preaches/writes, I wanted to grab it for my garden.  However, to spare my friend embarrassment I thought I would come back later for it.  To my surprise, she said to take it then and we could walk it back to my car.  (Thanks Deanie!)  Apparently, trash picking is welcomed in her neighborhood! 

With almost 80 degrees weather today, and armed with a can of “wildflower blue” exterior spray paint (how appropriate of a name!), I got to work on my “new” chair.  It dried in no time and was positioned in the garden.  The placement was easy.  I put it next to the birdfeeder and behind the sun dial.  It doesn’t look like much now with just daffodils in front, but you wait and see.  As summer approaches, there will be a burning bush in bloom behind it, pink sweet peas beside it, hydrangeas a few feet away and a zucchini plant or two nearby.  Who will sit in the chair?  Well, any child is welcome to have a seat.  Or perhaps a bird coming for some seed will stop for a rest.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's in your garden?

What are cold weather veggies?!  I am often asked what’s growing in my garden.  The idea that I might be planting in March has people asking me exactly what’s in there, were they transplants or directly seeded, did I start seeds indoors or buy them already as baby plants.  So to open a window into my backyard garden, I’ll tell you what’s already planted.  [Keep in mind, I’m in zone 6 of the US].  Many vegetables love the cold weather and won’t die just from a frost or two.  That said, here’s what I have:

Row 1:  Radishes (1st batch planted March 10, second batch this week).  I used to think these were just decorative touches on a salad but they’re phenomenal nutritionally.
Row 2:  Carrots, the 5” variety since I just use them mostly for salad and baking.
Row 3:  Lettuce, a loose variety (not a head lettuce like iceberg)
Center:  A few broccolis along the top of the center.  I leave this are mostly empty so that there’s space to plant cucumbers in May before much of the rest is harvested.  Then, as the rest is harvested, I put in other summer veggies in their place
Row 4:  Sugar Snap peas to grow up a triangular trellis, with ½ a row of romaine
Row 5:  More Romaine
Row 6:  Shallots

On the porch I also planted beets in a container pot although I’m not sure it’s the right time for them. I had a packet of seeds and my neighbor promised to eat them if I grew them.  They were more of an experiment.  As for what was seed and what was transplants….started from SEEDS:  broccoli, radishes, carrots, lettuce, sugar snap peas, and beets.  The romaine was a purchased transplant and the shallots were purchased bulbs.  Hope that inside look helps with your planning!  So if you've already planted, tell me what's in your garden.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Good Ache (not your traditional exercise)

There's a kind of ache that is a good ache.  I'm not talking about the ache that you get from lifting something too heavy, or from attending one too many classes of boot camp.   I mean the ache that you feel sometimes hours after, or maybe even a day later.  It's the ache that makes you say, "Hmm, I didn't know I even had muscles there."  I'm talking about the early-season-gardening-ache.  It's a good ache.  You might feel it in your back after bending over too much.  Or you may feel it in your legs from squatting too much or in your arms from pulling weeds.  It might show up in your back or shoulders from raking or digging.  The ache may even be in your hands.  You spend the day with hedge clippers and you awake the next day to realize that it's harder to grip.  Apparently, although we use our hands every day, there's still muscles that go underutilized until gardening season opens with all it's clipping, pulling and grabbing.  And unless you push too hard, it's all a good ache.  It says you've had a productive day.  You've been off the sofa.  You spent some time digging in the dirt and inhaling fresh air. 

Along with the satisfaction from the good ache there are also many calories burned.  So if you need another excuse to get out and garden, consider the following from (calories burned depends on weight of gardener):
  1. Planting seedlings burns 120-178 calories per half hour
  2. Weeding a garden burns 139-205 calories per half hour
  3. Digging and spreading dirt burns 150-222 calories per half hour. 
That’s just for 30 minutes and I’m sure we all spend a lot longer than that.  So get out and exercise in your garden.  Just remember to stretch so you don't have too much ache.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Penny's Worth

I remember the days growing up when I would spot a penny, bend down to pick it up, and place it in my pocket until I was home with my piggy bank.  It was a shining symbol of wealth to a child.  We had penny gumball machines.  A penny got you something!  “A penny for your thoughts” is a saying that dates back to the 1500s when a penny was a large amount of money.  Today, the penny is getting the boot.  People don’t just walk on by the penny instead of picking it up, they sometimes step right on it!  My son saw a penny the other day and I actually discouraged him from picking it up.  I thought, “What’s the use, it’s worth nothing, let’s get going”.  What a bum rap the penny has gotten in recent years.  Then with childlike innocence, he reminded me that if he just gets nine more pennies, then he’ll have a dime.  Yes, he’s a glass-is-half-full kind of guy.  A Mom just can’t argue with that logic.  And I didn’t have the heart to tell him that even a dime doesn’t buy much these days.

Then, in my mailbox, came a catalog to make me change my tune.  It was a catalog from Spring Hill Nursery and it was a One Cent Sale.  Yes, for only a penny I could get plants.  Ok, to be fair, you had to buy one plant first and then the second one was a penny (or if it was a set of 3, you now got 6 for only one cent more!).  I poured over the sale items for days.  I replanned our gardens.  I just had to fit all these beautiful penny plants into our beds.  After scaling down the order, I only bought 6 mixed lungworts for the front and 4 double red hollyhocks for the back fence.  I can’t wait for the email now that says the shipment is on the way.  In the meantime, I’m going to be picking up all the pennies I see. 

Mixed Lungwort

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Let Your Garden Feed Others

Inside the Conservatory at Longwood Gardens
Last weekend I had the privilege of being invited to a special program at Longwood Gardens.  It was the spring kickoff program of the Chester County Foodbank’s raised garden beds program.  My kids’ elementary school, along with other schools, churches, and organizations across the county, are a part of this program.  I am working with the kindergarten kids this year and it’s great to see their enthusiasm for growing.  Even better is the amount of vegetables harvested across the county for those in need!
Outside the Production Greenhouse of Longwood Gardens
The program at Longwood Gardens included information from the top gardener and a tour of their production greenhouse.  Very large and very cool!  I need a seed machine like theirs that can plant 200 seeds per minute!  We also got to pot an indoor plant (sigh, for this “innie”) and then spend the rest of the day at Longwood.  What fun! 

Not lost in this fun day though was the impact that our small raised beds at the school are having in the county.  According to the Chester County Food Bank, there are 272 raised garden beds and as of October, over 1800 pounds of fresh vegetables were harvested for the Foodbank that year!  It’s all volunteer-driven and a tremendous program when you consider how many people in need will receive fresh vegetables.  Consider getting your school or church involved if you live in Chester County (  If you’re outside the county, look into your local foodbank and start a raised bed program with them.  If they don’t offer one, start a garden in your backyard and donate to the local food pantry.  Let your garden spill over to help others!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring has come to Pennsylvania

"See!  The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.  Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land."  [Song of Solomon 2:11-12 NIV]

Daffodils in our backyard

Just beautiful!
Magnolia tree blooming out my kitchen window
And yes, we even have the cooing of doves.  With the placement of the birdfeeder out the kitchen window, we've seen more birds than ever visiting our yard.  With the help of birdfinder websites, the kids have enjoyed learning the types that are migrating through our area.  Last weekend, we even had a pair of doves hanging out for a few days.  I can see why, with all the flowers in bloom, I want to hang out in our yard more too! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Budget Gardener, Part 3


Plants and Finishing Touches
If you’re still reading Part 3 of the Budget Gardener series, then you’re as much into saving money as you are in to gardening.  Good for you!  Let’s grow some green without losing green from the wallet! 

Many of the tips for finding plants and accent garden pieces can be duplicated from the same sources as parts 1 & 2.  However, if those stores, sites, and family/friends fail, you sometimes don’t have to look farther than your own garden and house.  That’s right, what you need might already be in your possession!

  1. Multiplying your own garden:  Many perennials are not only able to be divided, but also thrive when divided.  They get overcrowded with themselves and need to be separated into smaller plants.  This is a great opportunity to expand your own garden or initiate a swap with someone else.  Great flowers like sedum, mums, aster, etc. love to be tossed up and divided, and replanted.  In fact, never assume it’s too late to put a plant in the ground.  We had a rose bush that needed to be moved and it literally fell apart in the process.  We figured there was nothing to lose so my wonderful husband shoved (literally) a few healthy branches in the ground, mounded some dirt over it and called it a day.  I’m not condoning this method, however, that rose bush is our biggest and healthiest to date.  Now I don’t suggest tossing your plants around like a salad, but if you think you’ve damaged it, don’t underestimate the hardiness of an established plant.  I won’t get into the methods of dividing a plant since there are many sites, books and videos on that topic.  Give it a try and you’ll be surprised.
  2. Look in the field.  If you have a wild field near your house, chances are there’s tigerlilies or black-eyed susans (or whatever is native to your state), growing in the wild.  As long as it’s no one’s property, dig up one or two.  They multiply on their own and will do the same in your garden.
  3. Be a “rescue” shelter for someone else’s unwanted plants.  So many times I’ve heard someone say that they’re going to dig up a plant or bush from their yard because it’s time for a change.  Put the word out that you’ll happily take any unwanted plants/bushes and give them a home at your house.  I have two such holly bushes that were “rescued” from a friend.
  4. Repurpose household items in the garden:  For the finishing touches and accent pieces, there are many creative ideas.  Mosaics are a beautiful touch in the garden whether it’s your child’s handprint with glass stones, or one that you make yourself.  You can also use household items such as an old wooden ladder for a tall trellis, an old door with hooks for storing tools, an old shutter or two for accents or a trellis, and many other types of pots.  If you have an old kitchen chair, just cut a hole in the seat and drop in a potted plant.  Looks around your house and move some of the indoors outside.  One of the most creative ideas I just saw was of 2 front doors “tied” together with wood across the top to make a beautiful garden arbor.  How original!
Get creative! 

The Budget Gardener, Part 2

Supplies & Tools

[Apparently, my second favorite thing to gardening is finding a bargain.  Put the two together and I could blog all night.]

The most expensive part of any hobby is the start-up costs of supplies and tools.  We either convince ourselves this is a one-time thing and bite the bullet by paying up for high quality tools, or we start out cheap and plan to reinvest at a later date.  I want to offer the Budget Gardener some options on saving on these start-up tools for the garden.  I’m not saying we don’t deserve some new shiny toys for our dirt, but learning to space it out will help the wallet.

First, not everything has to be new and shiny.  Sure, it looks pretty in the store but do you really need to see your reflection in a shovel that will be covered in dirt as soon as you bring it home?  Or does the handle really need to have that pink flower pattern to somehow make all the dirtiness seem more feminine?   I laughed this past Christmas when I saw catalogs containing pink handled hammers and even a pink rifle!  It’s ok to buy generic colors and save some green.

Here’s some ideas on where to look for new and used gardening tools to get you started.
  1. Garage sales!  Sure, they don’t get into full swing until around the same time your garden does, but after all, you don’t need ALL the tools from day one either.  Garage sales are great for the larger tools like shovels, carts, pots, etc.  Look for a moving sale where they don’t want to take it all with them.
  2. Craigslist.  Yes, we’ve all heard the scary stories of people who bought off of Craigslist but I’ve been selling and buying for a few years now and only met the nicest of people.  Use common sense and meet in the daytime, in a public place.  You can score some great finds in your community.
  3. Hand-me-downs, hand-me-arounds, and hand-me-ups!  That’s what we call them in our house depending on what direction they’re going.  Talk to family and see if they don’t need a tool anymore.  Many people are downsizing their homes and don’t need all the tools.  If someone recently retired to a condo or townhouse, most garden tools are no longer needed as the community property is cared for by management.  Maybe you have a smaller tool they now need in exchange for the larger tool.  Don’t limit yourself to family.  Do a swap with friends or just share.  My bulb planter is floating around the neighborhood right now and hopefully helping to beautify someone else’s yard.
  4. That leads to the next idea of just borrowing.  What’s wrong with borrowing a wheelbarrow or garden cart to spread your mulch?  You don’t use one often enough to lay out the money now.  Make that a later-date expense and borrow one now.
  5. Buy off-season.  I know it’s not as fun to buy supplies and tools at the end of the season.  However, that’s exactly why they’re on clearance because no one wants them then.  Make a list of the things you can put off buying, and then find them on clearance later! 
  6. And lastly, my favorite site of all, Freecycle!  This is a yahoo group dedicated to keeping items out of a landfill by finding a home for your unwanted stuff.  You get to be thrifty and green at the same time!  The members request or offer items for free.  Yes, you heard me right, for free!  My very first item I received on Freecycle was a refrigerator and the most recent was a skate ramp for my son.  I’ve also unloaded a ton of unnecessary items from around our house through this site.  The fact that you have to “belong” to the group may seem like a hassle, but it is well worth the time to join your local freecycle group.  I received a whole trunkload of tiger lilies one time from someone who was tired of them in her yard.  The only catch, you had to dig them up yourself.  Well, that was just a chance to break in the new shovel. 

The bargains are out there.  Now you know where to look.  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Budget Gardener, part 1

Gardening can be as simple as puttering around your yard with established plants and bushes, to designing your dream landscape complete with waterfalls and giant goldfish.  It’s as cheap or as expensive as your wallet can afford and heart desires.  That said, there are plenty of ways to garden on a budget.  For the blog readers from Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Germany, and India (I’m intrigued who you are!), these tips might not fully apply, but I’m sure there’s a substitute for your country.  Garden on!
  1. Let’s start with the one money saving tip that transcends countries and borders—Facebook!  Like many companies these days, you can “like” a local gardening store, and therefore, have access to their insider coupons or preview sales. 
  2. and both have garden clubs. Once you sign up, you’ll receive free magazines, insider tips, and seasonal coupons. 
  3. As for garden catalogs, it’s still a toss up as to saving money.  If you’re desiring something different for your garden that can not be found at the larger chain stores, than a catalog might be cheaper than the local nursery for the “fancier” varieties.  Watch for sales through the mail offers or their websites.
  4. Buy and swap seeds!  A packet of seeds will cost $1-$2 to grow a yard of flowers or veggies compared to the cost of buying one potted plant later in the spring.  Unless you have a large field to cover, most seed packets contain many more seeds than you could use.  Therefore, either plant extras in pots to give to neighbors, or pass along the seed packets to someone who has not purchased theirs yet.  However, don’t forget to save seeds for autumn if you plan to plant cold-weather crops.  Those same seed packets can be used in the Fall again.
Gardening on a budget is possible.  Most of all, when you grow your own produce, that’s the greatest budget saver of all!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stealth Gardening

We're one week to go from my planting date for the cold-weather crops.  Last St. Patty's Day, I planted the seeds for my radishes, loose-leaf lettuce and sugar snap peas.  It was a horrible winter last year and the planting day was a bright spot to end the winter blahs.  This year, it seems we've hardly had a winter.  With barely two snows to record, not even one snow-day for school, and most nights not going below freezing, it seems that Spring has already come.  Still, no one expects someone to plant a seed yet.  It's too early!  They'll think I'm crazy.  I just couldn't wait!  So while my husband was assembling the basketball net that our youngest got for his b-day, and the kids were out playing in the street with the new skate ramp, I snuck to the back with the seeds in my pocket.  I looked around and no one was watching.  Quickly, I prepared the soil, dropped in the seeds for just one trial row, fixed the dirt, and ran back to the front.  No one noticed I was gone.  Later, I snuck back to place a small marker that read "R 3/11".  That's my code name for radishes on March 11th.  They'll never crack the code!  This week should bring 70 degree temps again so maybe I'll do some more stealth gardening until the "proper" day to plant arrives.  And by then, I'll either be way ahead of everyone for harvesting, or regretting my decision if that big Easter Blizzard arrives that some are still holding over me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The wisdom of Randy Pausch and Snoopy

In “The Last Lecture”, by the late Randy Pausch, he encouraged parents to let their kids pursue their creative interests.  He shared how his parents had let him paint all over his bedroom walls. “If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let ‘em do it.”  In a similar way, my parents allowed me to “paint” when I was a child.  I don’t remember exactly when I fell in love with gardening, but I thought it was right after I got married and began tending to beautiful rose bushes where we lived.  Then it occurred to me that I had been a gardener long before that time in 2000.  My Mom always cared for flowers in the front yard, but I wanted a plot of my own earth to dig in.  I remember bugging my parents for a pumpkin patch.  Perhaps, I was really just intrigued by watching too many episodes of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  Or maybe it was really all about the gardening itself.  Either way, my parents allowed me to have my own little section below the deck in the back yard to grow pumpkins.  It was a sunny spot filled with grass.  After removing the grass from a 4-foot area, and doing my best, I did grow at least one pumpkin.  It was a thrill to create something where grass once grew.  I don’t recall how long I kept up that patch before teenage interests pulled me away.  However, that small plot took root in my mind for a future hobby.  Tomorrow, my Mom and I will head off to Longwood Gardens for a morning of learning from their top gardener.  It seems only appropriate that she would be my “+1 guest”.  So in the spirit of Randy Pausch, if your kids want to dig in the dirt and mess up your yard, let ‘em!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Second Chances

Flipping through "Birds & Bloom" magazine the other day I came across an article on growing your own tropical fruit.  They listed lemons, bananas, dragon fruit, oranges, etc.  How yummy to wake up and pick my oranges for breakfast, or for the kids to be able to swing from the chandelier to pick their own bananas.  The idea had me intrigued that I could grow fruit in the Northeast.  Then I read the line that made the brakes screech, “find a sunny window in your house.”  There’s that indoor growing thing again (remember, I’m not an “innie”).  I’d have to keep the tropical fruit plant alive long enough to get the fruit.  As I was ready to give up and flip the page, my eyes caught a side bar that listed additional tropical fruit to grow.  There on the page, in small print, jumping right out at me, [cue the angelic voices, “ahhhh!”] was…..CHOCOLATE!  Seriously, I could grow chocolate!  It’s a bean, it’s healthy, and it is my family's favorite food group.  I might just have to give this indoor growing a second chance. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Gardener

This past weekend, I threw my back out.  It was a first (and hopefully last) experience.  This gardener was put on "rest" and was only able to watch the seeds sprout indoors from what we planted last week.  I did a lot of gazing out the window also.  And without my hands ever touching my gardens, the daffodils are sprouting, the hyacinths are poking through and the magnolia buds are starting to swell.  How is this possible without my touch?  I'm not watering.  I'm not nurturing.  The real Gardener, God, is at work whether I ever step foot outside or not!  With spring arriving, it's hard to deny His fingerprint on all of creation.  "Since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.  For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made.  As a result, people are without excuse." (Romans 1:19,20).  Did you catch that?  It's through what He has made, that we can see His attributes.  We are not to worship the creation.  However, His mark is all over it!  Enjoy the display He created as it unfolds around you this season.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Are you an Innie or an Outtie

I have a confession to make.  For all of my gardening with flowers, and bushes, and growing vegetables, I really can not keep an indoor plant alive!  It baffles me that I can kill an indoor plant, or bring it near the brink of death, in less than 2 weeks.  They just don't like my light, or my over- or under-watering, or my hovering as they start to shrivel.  Whatever the reason, I do not have a green thumb when it comes to indoor plants.  However, my sister swears she does not have a green thumb, but can keep an indoor cyclamen alive for multiple years...although I may have killed it by just touching it this past weekend!  That leads me to believe that when it comes to a green thumb, we all have one.  We just need to realize if we're an innie or an outtie.  I'm not talking about belly-buttons.  I'm referring to an indoor or outdoor green thumb.  If you're lucky enough to have two green thumbs, you get a bonus star in my book!  On the other hand, if you've often considered yourself to have been born without a green thumb, maybe you're just gardening on the wrong side of the window.  Try the other side and you might just start to see your thumb turn green!  Give it a shot!