Walk with me. 

I can walk, you know. Three times in the past year I wasn’t to go traipsing about. I still feel the gratitude in my muscles when I wander these days (even if my joints complain.) 

So walk with me…


Herbs out front

These days my gardening is in very short bursts before my ankle forces me back inside to the couch with an elevated boot. I planted a cauliflower and a broccoli yesterday. Just one of each. Today I was going to sow some peas and zinnias. I packed my bucket (the handle can be held in the same hand as a crutch – the only way to transport something these days) with the seeds from my office, the trowel from the garage, and the labels from the toolbox…and that was it. So let’s see what else I can do from this here couch…

I’m a sucker for plants (and seeds, and…yeah. “Hi, my name is Plumdirt, and I’m a plant-a-holic.) This leads to either more pots on my small front “porch” than agrees with my aesthetic or dead plants in their starter containers because I ran out of time to plant them.

When DH picked up a new Thai basil this year, we were bumping up against the latter and needed to find it a home quickly. Enough shade to survive, enough water to grow, and enough space to branch out. In our small yard, there weren’t many options. I plopped it into the first piece of earth that seemed to fit the bill and waited.

It just so happens to catch the run-off from a lot of the roof. It also soaks up the near-constant drip of the AC condenser drain in the summer. It might be too swampy. It might be just right.

Now whenever I open the garage door for a shovel, or to rotate laundry, or let loose the lawn mower, it gets bumped by the door and a fresh waft of Thai basil swirls through the air to my nose.

Serendipitous planting is oft times my favorite sort.

The landscape these days.

The Thai basil from the front bed that froze to the ground last December and showed no signs of returning?

Yeah. It hasn’t returned.

It has finally had some self-seeded sprouts reach maturity though! The bees around here must love licorice, because they cannot get enough of the blossoms on these ones.

Speaking of self-seeding herbs, it took me two years of trying to get my Texas Hummingbird Sage seeds to sow, another year after that to get them to put on their first real leaves before kicking the pot, and finally last year, in my fourth year, with the last of the seeds in the packet, four seedlings reached transplant strength…only to lose three their first night out in the world. You had better believe that that fourth transplant last year received some serious babysitting and careful attention!

Lessons learned?

  • Don’t try and start herb seeds indoors like veggie seeds.
  • If you do, double your efforts. They are much less forgiving.
  • Get them into pots before they look like plants. Once those first real leaves appear, I think it’s a matter of days before it needs a pot or keels over. (This could just be me!)
  • Don’t over nourish the soil with compost or seaweed.
  • Put them outside in their pots. I think they hate AC.

All of that effort finally paid off when it survived the summer, flowered, and went to seed. Then came the next test – would I have to order another seed packet? Or would it really prove it was “Texas” Hummingbird Sage and successfully self-sow?

We don’t eat this herb (yet.) It has a curious flavor profile to DH, and I downright don’t like it. What I do like? Those beautiful scarlet blossoms that emerge from the Japanese-Temple-style buds.

July around here was lovely. We stopped with the triple digits for a few weeks. It rained (yay!) multiple times. It was actually a summer I could call “lovely” by Texas standards and was such a mental relief to so many local residents after the built up anxiety of having another year like last year.

That loveliness translated into a resurgence of growth in my Heat Bed! Totally unexpected, and such a pleasant surprise.

This little gentleman tried to die in his pot on the porch. Then he nearly died his first week in the ground. Again he looked like a thicket of dead twigs nearing the end of June. He’s even happier now than he looks here.

And this one has managed to bloom and re-bloom, grow and grow some more, and barely blinks when it hits 100. (Shh…it secretly gets to hide in the late afternoon shade of the Fragrant Mimosa.)

An herbalicious mess.

When I planted each of these less than 18 months ago, they were from cute little 4″ pots, or even smaller transplants of my own. I over-pruned the sage in the back this spring (oops…) which created room for the rosemary to expand (and DH rarely cooks with rosemary.) The Italian Oregano made SO many seeds last year, I could plant an acre or more, and it’s starting up again. Nevermind those lovely purple trumpets on the Mexican Oregano, they can stay as they keep the bees, butterflies, and other flyers happy.

The volunteer Texas Hummingbird Sage and Thai Basil are popping up in some far-away places! Here they are fighting the good fight against some more Henbit.

And those green onions I had in a jar on the kitchen counter? They’ve earned a pot – right next to my new watering can that I like maybe a little more than a sane person should.

The tops of the onions made it onto a burger for DH the other day. I’m curious to see how many more times it will re-grow.

Speaking of re-growing? This guy had co-existed peacefully with five seed trays for the last month.

Notice I said “had.” This morning I was awoken by DH, who was obviously unhappy. When I inquired what was the matter, he said he had some bad news. I automatically started running various grandparents through my mind and then he explained that the truce was broken and four of my seed trays were demolished by the charming-looking feline pictured above.

I worked quickly, plucking the wee sprouts from the piles of tossed earth and replanting them in a resurrected tray. The cat has been locked in the other room all day. We’ll see how I feel about letting him out tomorrow.

Fingers crossed that the baby cauliflower, broccoli, lettuces, and greens recover. So much for keeping track of varieties this year…