Thursday, March 23, 2023

What's that smell? #SOL23

Plants have always been a part of my classroom. They add a homey feeling, and I think it is important for kids to see growth in more ways than learning. One plant I have that sits on the corner of my desk has been with me since my first year of teaching in 2007.

I have two peace lilies that I received when my dad and my father-in-law passed within a month of each other in 2008. One of the plants began to look a little sickly, so I decided to bring it home and put it in a bucket of water to try and reestablish its root system. I filled the bucket and placed it in my son's bedroom, which is now my office. It had been up there since Christmas break, and I had to add more water once when it was low.

A few weeks ago, I pulled up what was left of the leaves to look at the roots, and up came an odor that about knocked me over. It was like a cloud of toxic fumes or an atomic bomb had gone off in this room. After gagging and pulling my shirt up over my nose and mouth, I grabbed the bucket and ran it downstairs and straight out the backdoor. My husband and daughter were sitting on the couch and my daughter yelled out, "What is that smell? Did you fart?"

"No," I said. "This is worse than a fart."

Have you ever had fresh flowers in a vase for a week or so? Have you ever smelled the foul odor of the water? Well, take this amount of smelly water times a five-gallon bucket that has been sitting stagnant for three months, and you MIGHT get an idea of what this smelled like.

I was really in a dilemma:  I wanted to keep the plant because of its sentimental value plus the fact that it was 15 years old, but I could not keep it while it smelled like that. 

I ended up dumping the water, spraying the roots, and putting it back into clean water because I still needed dirt and a new pot. 

But again, it sat there for weeks. Until today.

I decided to try and salvage it by cutting off all of what was left of the leaves and keeping three small chunks of the roots. I completely buried them in a new pot and brought it back upstairs to my office. Hopefully, in few weeks I will begin to see leaves unfurling up through the dirt.

Until then, I will just have to look at this pot of dirt...but at least I don't have to smell it!


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  1. Leigh Anne, I am impressed with your tenacious gardening skills. Wow. 15 years you have kept those peace lilies alive. I wouldn't have known it was possible to salvage from what was left in that stinky bucket. All the best as you wait! I will look forward to reading about its success.

  2. I wish I had a green thumb. I don't.....which may be exactly why I know the smell to which you refer. It's like a goat ate something that had been dead for a week and then died itself and rotted. I know. I have smelled that smell. It's not pretty. Much, much worse than a fart indeed.

  3. I do not have much luck with plants, usually because I forget all about them:) I'm impressed with your efforts! I hope that you'll update us on any progress!