Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

A Green Thumb in the Eye

For weeks, I chronicled my attempts to grow a Denver Daisy -- a PlantSelect seed that's the progeny of Rudbeckia birta and Rudbeckia "Prairie Sun," specifically chosen to commemorate the City and County of Denver's 150th birthday on November 22, 2008," according to the packets of free seeds distributed by the city in April.

I planted my first packet at the office on May 15, the first day recommended for safe planting, and although only one seedling emerged from the six seeds in the packet, at least it emerged more quickly than the twenty days predicted. But the tiny plant disappeared when I was out of town -- daisynapped, I suspect, although no ransom note was ever received.

My second attempt wound up blown off the back porch -- but I scooped up the dirt, and one hardy plant emerged from that mess. But it, too, ultimately disappeared into dust.

As it turns out, though, I'm not the only gardener who feels like she had a green thumb stuck in her eye. At a city council meeting Wednesday, Charlie Brown -- a longtime gardener who even sent his gardening history to constituents earlier this year -- started trading disappointing daisy stories with other councilmembers. Brown did not get a single plant from his seeds, and his colleagues didn't fare much better, he discovered.

"We're having a 150th birthday here, and it's like a birthday cake without the candles," Brown told me.

The bloom is off this rose. -- Patricia Calhoun