House plants that enter into my care rarely thrive. More often, they have the sort of existence Thomas Hobbes (no, not that Hobbes) might have written about—that is, “nasty, brutish, and short.” And while I’ve tried many different types of plants, the problem is always the same: water. Some occasions it’s too little too late, others it is a root rot-inducing flood. Frequently, it’s one followed by the other as I overcompensate. Whatever knack is required, I don’t have it, and I was ready to give up on the idea that anything could grow in the barren desert landscape of my living room.