Brown Thumb?

I used to have a brown thumb — brown compared to a green thumb, that is. Instead of everything I tried to grow turning green, things turned brown.

I’ve been thrilled with my garden this year, delighted to see so much greenery and so many different flowers. I thought perhaps my “brown thumb” had finally been cured, but that gave me something else to worry about — my gardening posts have been almost giddy with my success, so deep down inside where I didn’t have to face the thought, I’ve wondered if I were about to get my comeuppance.

Well, I did.

Late yesterday afternoon, a wide swath of my pretty green lawn suddenly turned brown. Did my brown thumb re-emerge? Did my fatalism cause my grass’s doom?

I’m sure, despite the suddenness of the brown attack, the dying swath of grass had nothing to with my thumbs or my fatalism and everything to do with the very strong, very hot, very dry winds that blew through here all day yesterday.

I suppose a green-thumbed person would have foreseen the issue and hence could have prevented it, but I hadn’t a clue. Even if I had thought that the hot, arid winds would desiccate my grass so quickly, I wouldn’t have been able to rehydrate the lawn. Being out in that wind could have wind-burned me, not just my grass, and at my age, dehydration isn’t a joke. (Well, it never is, but youth can sometimes handle physical problems that age cannot.)

That patch of grass got the worst of it, probably because it was in the direct path of the wind. Other plants also succumbed, but those that were protected somehow — mulched, in shade, or had a bush nearby to lessen the wind’s viciousness — came through just fine.

I’d taken down this hanging plant and set it in a protected area. It’s twin, which was not placed in that same protected area, did not fare well at all. An unplanned experiment, for sure!

This whole experience showed me why that sort of weather — temperatures above 100, humidity in the single digits, winds around 40mph — is so dangerous and why it prompts fire warnings. Grass that turns instantly to hay can catch fire easily, and the wind can whip up that fire until it’s uncontrollable. Eek. I’m glad I only have to deal with a patch of desiccated lawn; things could have been so much worse.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

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6 Responses to “Brown Thumb?”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    We had a ‘brown lawn’ event this spring, too. Many summers our unwatered lawns turn brown, but they always come back. This spring, however, several patches in our back property didn’t turn green like some other areas and we attributed it to a serious de-weeding my hubby did last year. We assumed the double-strength treatment probably killed the grass and maybe even sterilized the ground in those spots.

    But we had also endured a heat dome last summer, with temperatures reaching 40°C / 104°F, the hottest we’ve ever experienced here. Local berry crops cooked on their vines; the leaves on our potted tomato plants began turning white until I moved them into a shaded location. This spring friends suggested perhaps the extreme heat might have baked the vulnerable patches of lawn.

    We really need the property to look its best this summer, so it was decided to severely rake out all the dead areas, scruff up the ground and sow new grass seed. That was three weeks ago, and we are relieved to see the signs of new growth now. Fingers crossed it continues.

    Maybe if your grass turned brown so suddenly, the combined heat and desiccation by the wind won’t have affected the roots to the point of totally killing the grass, and once the roots get well soaked again the green will return (as our lawns usually do). Fingers crossed for you, too.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I wondered the same thing — if because of the suddenness of the browning that perhaps the roots are still viable. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for both of us, too!

  2. Uthayanan Says:

    Best gardener’s and best gardiens in the world were fortunate with natural conditions and artificial conditions with lots of money and time involved. (Singapore The Gardens by the Bay).
    In Colorado with your garden condition you are doing well with your beautiful flowers. Of course you are going to have lots of brown thumbs !!!.
    Please keep going as you feel like. Your enthusiasm and perseverance with experiences will give you good results.

  3. Judy C Galyon Says:

    I understand the brown. My yard is turning brown after Monday’s mowing. We will be over 100 this week. Not a fun time. I still water my plants. Be careful.

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