What gives, mother nature?

Seriously, what gives?

There are plenty of green-thumbed-mother-earth types out there. I say this with envy because I, sadly, am not one of them. Most house plants I’ve owned (they have been few and far between) have withered and died within seconds of entering my home. This includes a cactus. Yes, I overwatered it.

But still, I figured that outdoor plants are resilient, even if they are potted plants. So, as long as I keep them watered and in the sunshine, they’ll be fine, right?

Wrong. Gardening isn’t relaxing, it’s not peaceful. It’s an endless battle against the force that seeks to destroy your plants, that’s what it is. That force? That’s ‘mother’ nature. I have no idea where the mothering went to. Maybe mother nature decided to become a career bitch and take up smoking, leaving all sorts of nasty things free to roam unchecked.

Since getting our plants in June, we have had a white fly infestation (tiny flies that literally suck the life out of plants – we lost a cantaloupe plant to the buggers), mealy bugs, more slugs than you can shake a stick at, caterpillars everywhere, including these guys that are as BIG AS MY LITTLE FINGER, and the latest is that there might be some sort of fungus growing on our grapevine. (maybe it heard through the grapevine that this was a good place to be. I’m sorry, I had to go there. I know, I hang my head in shame)


We’re on the fifth floor and we live in one of the most built up areas in the world. How does a slug climb five stories of a building in Hong Kong, I ask you? Well, ‘mother’ nature has figured some super slug enhancement in her lab, because there they are,five stories up, and what’s more, they keep coming back.

And I haven’t even mentioned the weeds that sprout everywhere and at a phenomenal speed no less (of course, they are completely unaffected by all the pests. That would have been too convenient, clearly).

I was looking forward to the soothing, therapeutic side of gardening. I thought it would be a nice way to take a break from writing and being on the computer all day. Instead I’m turning into a plant hypochondriac. At the first sign of a yellowing leaf I begin to fret and fuss, anxiously scouring forums that are the plant equivalent of web doctor, trying to work out what latest thing might be causing my plants to die.

Seriously. What gives mother nature?

PS: I do enjoy our little garden, really. It’s just that I’ve just finished a quick bit of gardening, and went mental at the sheer number of caterpillars I had to pick off the pomelo trees. Like ranting and raving aloud mental. Poppy, on the other hand, thought it was hilarious.

Also this begs the question: how the hell did the ‘good’ plants survive before man was there to pick slugs and caterpillars off their leaves, and fight it out with the white flies? Evolution missed a trick there.


17 thoughts on “What gives, mother nature?

  1. I’ve heard wiping mealy bugs off with a wet cloth diped in water with dish detergent works. Don’t know if it’s true. Heard slugs will drown in little saucer of beer. I have brought frogs in with my pots plants.


    • Oh I’ve wiped mealy bugs away but not with dish detergent, I’ll have to try that out and let you know.
      Haha drunk on beer slugs could be quite funny. I’ve heard sprinkling eggshells around the base of the plants helps too.
      Have you brought frogs in to eat the bigs? Because that is such a clever idea!!


  2. I gave the yard work over to my husband years ago. I can’t grow a plant! When you write this it sounds like how I imagine gardening to be…frustrating, not relaxing. I wonder about all these earthy types who can be “at one” with their gardens. I envy them! Seriously, though, it sounds like your garden is lovely and I’m very impressed that you have grown one on the fifth floor in the city ! Courage, Celine — tout ira bien dans ton jardin!


    • Haha well it’s not so much a garden as a collection of potted plants. We’ll see how long they survive. But it’s definitely not me being ‘at one’ with my garden as you say! Still it’s well worth it when we are outside among the plants. It’s lovely to have a piece of greenery that’s ours….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never done well with potted plants, inside our outside. But in the ground I do fine. The same plants that wilted and died in pots, typically survived when planted in our flower beds.

    Our grape vines get some sort of powdery mildew every season, usually toward the end. My husband sprays them with something to try to prevent it from developing. Not sure if it ever really worked. But the mildew never really harmed the plants, it just didn’t look very good.


    • Yeah I think there might be a part of me that’s massively overreacting to what’s going on with the plants. I just had not expected the onslaught of ‘stuff’ that comes with having potted plants! lol


      • Oh, I’ve spent plenty of time trolling Google about aphids, cutworms, whiteflies, hornworms. Part if it is curiosity and part if it is paranoia.
        With my house I think it’s easier because I have a really big yard and we’ve got a nice balance of “good” and “bad” bugs, so the ladybugs will eventually eat all the aphids and I don’t really have to do anything. When I had my balcony garden, it was much harder. I don’t know if it was because the plants were isolated in an artificial environment, but an aphid infestation would completely decimate my plants if I didn’t do something about them. And I think a lot of my pests came with the plants when I bought them.


      • Yeah I seem to be lacking any kind of ‘good’ bugs. I guess that’s because the plants aren’t in their natural habitat (on the ground). Wish I had ladybugs to eat whatever needs eating. Maybe that’s why gardeners are so relaxed normally, they have ladybugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “I was looking forward to the soothing, therapeutic side of gardening…” LOL.
    I too killed a cactus. So I stay away from anything remotely connected to gardening.
    Welcome to the club of “green-finger-impaired” individuals… 🙂


  5. Pingback: Keep Creativity Flowing: lessons learned from writing 150k words in 6 weeks | Celine Jeanjean

  6. Oh, Celine, I am also a person with a dead thumb when it comes to plants. This is why I only buy the indestructible ones, which can go through drought and flood and sunshine and shade and bugs and go on without my intervention. In my backyard I planted ornamental grasses rather than traditional plants. Best thing I ever did. I don’t have to do anything except trim them back once a year. 🙂


    • I think I need to get me some indestructible plants! I thought I was being so clever by planting fruit and veg plants but it’s turning out to be a battle that I’m rapidly losing.
      Those ornamental grasses sound great! There should be a plant called ‘for the lazy gardner’. I’d buy it and fill my roof terrace with it.


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