Corn plants, it turns out, do not like being transplanted, and it was not happy. (Photo: Shutterstock).

By Mary Lynn Bruny

How does a semi-sensible woman end up with foot-high corn plant in her bathtub in February? There is only one possible explanation: love and guilt. We do ridiculous things we don’t want to do for love and to atone for guilt. I am no exception.

Growing corn may be one of the few dreams of which I deprived our eldest son, now 29. Thus he has a deep-rooted need (no pun intended), an unfulfilled yearning to do so. Nothing makes anything more desirable than having your parents say you can’t have it, whether it is an item of clothing, a love interest or a fast-growing vegetable.

When our kids were growing up we let them wear pretty much whatever they wanted. (The same ratty Calvin and Hobbes T-shirt for three years? Okay!) We let them choose their hairstyles. (Justin Bieber bangs over the eyes? Who needs to see?) We let them decorate their rooms. (Blinding blue and orange neon? Awesome!) And we let them choose their activities. (Construct a huge half pipe in our backyard? Sure!)

But the one place where I drew the line was not allowing them to grow corn in our limited vegetable gardening space. We grew all manner of herbs and vegetables. But I could not be bothered by these huge monsters that require so much space for very little output. And thus, apparently, I created this black hole of need within our son.

Ever since he was little he has loved cornfields. We would pass by them while on road trips and he would heave a heavy sigh and intone: “Why can’t WE grow corn?” Some kids want dirt bikes, some want expensive athletic shoes. No, our Boulder child wanted a cornfield.

And lo and behold, the Angel of Sweet Children Who Have Suffered So at the Callous Hands of Their Selfish Parents has smiled down on him. Late last fall he bought a home with a small backyard. In the middle of the grass was a random little corn plant sprouting up for no apparent reason except to fulfill my son’s childhood desire and, I assume, to mock me.

As winter was around the corner, our son lovingly transplanted it into a pot and brought it indoors. Corn plants, it turns out, do not like being transplanted, and it was not happy. Therefore our son brought it to the critical care plant specialist, yours truly. To appease my past guilt, I nursed this puppy back to vim and vigor and was feeling quite pleased with myself until tragedy struck: bugs. Damn bugs.

Some home import – bananas? – brought these little nasties that infested the corn and other house plants which are growing behind my computer. These teeny pests seemed to multiply daily and were constantly buzzing about, not an ideal work environment (unless you’re a toad). Thus the corn and houseplants had to go into intensive care, my bathtub, to get de-bugged – a week-long affair.

My husband walked into our bathroom, took in the buggy foliage in the bathtub, opened his mouth to say something, but then thought better. He just shook his head, muttered under his breath, and walked back out. Poor guy. I think I’ve just broken him over the years.

The good news is now the pests are gone, and the corn is healthy and happily growing. By spring I assume it will be reaching the ceiling. Won’t that be fun? And no doubt come summer our son will have a nice plot of corn in his little suburban backyard, his own field of dreams come true.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn Bruny writes about local real estate and home-related topics for At Home Colorado. Email her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to