- I acquire an orchid, which is in bloom or about to flower;
- the orchid flowers;
- I attempt to look after the orchid, but its health steadily deteriorates;
- the orchid either dies or is rescued by my mother who nurses it back to health;
- my mother returns the once again about-to-flower orchid to me, and the cycle continues.
I don't mean to do it. I pay attention. I even have orchid fertiliser. And yet I kill them. My mother tends to them with benign neglect; I with malign care*. Take the latest victim: I attempted Mum's practice of benign neglect, with the result that it was drastically under-watered. I tried to water it a bit more, and it got too wet. It hated being on the kitchen windowsill, though my mother keeps hers on the sitting room windowsill, equally east-facing, above a radiator and in a draught. My aunt is a member of the British Orchid Council, but clearly I didn't get the genes.
But I will not give up! I bought some orchid compost, and yesterday I unpotted it, removed the roots that were now rotten, and re-potted it. It shall live on the shelf in the spare room, and I shall water ultra-sparingly (but enough!). And if by mid-August it is still looking peaky, I shall give it back to my mother's convalescent home for orchids I have ruined, until it is ready for me to abuse it once again.
I'm really much better with pets.
*I've tried benign neglect, that didn't work for me either.