I’m being followed by periwinkles. I just know I am. I can’t walk a minute without seeing them. In people’s houses, office buildings, in the supermarket and even along the sidewalk! They seem to be everywhere, it would seem. Everywhere that is, except in the murderous pot in my garden.
A month ago, I picked out two periwinkle plants at the nursery. They were both healthy and beautiful. They were also in full bloom! The first one’s flowers were a lovely red in colour, while the other one’s were white with a pink ring in the centre.
“Sadafule,” my dad called them by their Marathi name. “They’re in bloom throughout the year and are really easy to maintain.”
I like it when my dad suggests plants that are “easy to maintain”. It usually means that they need nothing but water, sunshine, and the occasional smattering of compost to be chillin’ like villains.
But within a week of bringing them home, both the periwinkle plants started to wither. First, their flowers started to rot and then the leaves and stems followed. I tried my best to save them. Ok, so maybe “my best” involved adding a dash of vermicompost and saying a prayer. But don’t forget, I ‘m pretty new to this gardening gig.
They died on a Tuesday morning as the sunny skies started to cloud over. Just like my soul.
“I did everything I could, Dad. But I just couldn’t save them,” I told my father over the phone. “The sadafule have died.”
“It’s ok,” he said. “Sometimes, plants just die. Maybe the roots didn’t latch on properly or it was just a bad seed!”
“Or maybe your dad is just being a good father and avoiding having to tell you that your ‘green thumb’ is actually black,” my husband chirped from the background.
I’m being followed by periwinkles. Plagued, more like. It’s like they’re pointing at me and whispering, “There goes the killer of our kind! Beware her touch…”
Seriously! I have seen these flowers grow anywhere and everywhere. Even on the rims of gutters tended by nothing but dust, pollution and the occasional sprinkle of dog pee. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But you can see why the unfairness of the situation has me worked up, can’t you?
“You could have another go at it,” a friend of mine suggested the other day.
“No, I really don’t want to return to the nursery again. It’s too painful. And far.”
“Or you could just take a cutting from one of the many periwinkles you claim to see like Hamlet’s father’s ghost and plant it!”
“Wait. You can do that?”
Apparently, you can! Who would have thunk?
“Any experienced gardener, or even a child repeating the 4th grade could have told you that….” My husband quips as I tell him about this revelation.
I guess I’m not being plagued by periwinkles at all! I’m being summoned by them, more like, to have another go. Maybe I’ll steal a stem of the neighbour’s Bird of Paradise too while I’m at it!