My Uncle gave me a gift card to a plant nursery one town over for my birthday. I had quit my job, begun working at a grocery, gone back to school, and was relying on help from family to make my mortgage each month. Decorating the porch hadn’t been in the budget this year. So when i received this gift card the first thing i thought about was getting something to hang from the hooks on the porch. Last year i had some really pretty red bougainvillea and i realized that since the blossoms were technically pigmented leaves, they didn’t blow off during high winds and scatter the yard, leaving the plant bare. They were just the plant for the homestead! The plant nursery had pink and lavender bougainvillea. I chose the pink. I thought it would go better with the green paint of the house. I didn’t much care for the color lavender unless it was accompanied by cream or perhaps a vibrant teal. Anyways, the plants were a little bit sad looking when i bought them. The store clerk tried to sell me on the idea of 15 dollar plant food pellets. She said without them it wouldn’t bloom and the plant might not do so well. While i was there a woman came in and said the tree they sold her had died even though she put the plant food on just like they told her. The plants i could see from where i was standing were all a little droopy and i quickly realized these were business people, not plant people. Plant people would never have allowed plants to get to this state and would be embarrassed to sell them looking as they did. This little old lady was being interrogated by these two business women about what she had done to the tree that may have been her fault it died and i stood there waiting my turn to check out thinking, “why are you interrogating her about how she doctored the sick plant…maybe just don’t sell her a half dead tree in the first place?!” I had my grandmother’s genes in me and i knew the plants i was buying were not in such a dire state they couldn’t be saved. They just needed a little tlc. They needed some care and attention. What they needed was not some fancy dancy chemical laden plant food in a pretty bottle. What they needed was nutrients and regular access to water and sun. That, i could give them.
This is what the plants looked like when i first brought them home and watered them. They were a little droopy but they had potential. I took a shovel to the chicken pen and dug up a portion of the dirt floor of the chicken pen. It was dirt mixed with chicken poop that had been created by eating an excellent local feed and the organic fruit and veg i gave them regularly. Also the discarded feed had sprouted in the rain and created little plants which the chickens then ate and pooped out as well. I took this nutrient rich chicken poop/dirt mixture and shoveled a good amount of it into each hanging pot, to cover the exposed roots of the plants that had clearly not seen new soil in a while. Over time, as plants are watered again and again, some of the soil leaves through the holes in the bottom of the pot with the water each time and eventually new soil must be placed on top to replenish the supply and the plant’s access to nutrients, but, i didn’t suspect these were plant people so i didn’t suspect that they knew this. I was happy to have bought the plants because now they could be somewhere where they could thrive. After two days the leaves perked up and stopped drooping. After a week the nutrients from the chicken poop kicked in and the things burst into bloom in an impressive way. The power of chicken poop man. Useful little creatures, they are. They lay bartering tools daily and they poop fertilizer. They also act as a pretty good garbage disposal for the scraps you don’t want smelling up the trash. What more could you ask for?