Lush growth, rampant flowering, overpowering greenness. The success story of my herb garden this summer has been inspiring, filling me with joy every morning, as I gather a handful of herbs to treat the children's bunnies with. The parsley is so abundant that I can feed it to them with no regrets, in fact they are doing me a favour, as I hate to waste it and it needs picking to keep it growing throughout the season. They even get basil as I nip off the heads about to flower
and they love the rocket, which spirals out of control and into flower in no time.
Yet all this burgeoning fertility conceals a few sadder stories that escape the eye at first glance, concealed by the outsized swathe of marigolds, planted to repel bugs and expected to be half the size that they have achieved so far.
The row of coriander seeds, that I planted a month ago to succeed a defunct row of rocket, struggled to make it through to the light. While the adjacent new row of rocket germinated and grew strong,
only one seedling of coriander emerged. I weeded around it tenderly, straining my eyesight to see if any other seedling would emerge next to it. I watered it every day, determined to preserve this one precious plant, and yet, last week’s several days of over 40C must have overpowered its delicate new leaves. When I looked for it on the weekend, it seemed to have shrunk back into itself, almost back into the ground, its early braveness as a lone survivor fading too timidly to make it in the harsh world I’d exposed it to.
As gardener in chief I could only mourn it briefly, before looking at the moon calendar to find a propitious day to plant a new row of seeds, in hope that they would have a luckier start in the world. The coriander planted in October has totally gone to flower,
so a new row is sorely needed to keep our salads and curries supplied with fresh zingy flavour.
But I empathise with that one brave but vanquished seed – sometimes I feel like shrinking back under a comfortable layer of soil too, away from the harsh light of day. It is having the support of the rest of the row, a family supporting and offering companionship, that raises spirits enough to survive the heat, put out new leaves and brave each new day as it comes.
So fingers crossed that the latest row of coriander germinates prolifically and grows apace with plenty of company.
|My herb garden back in September...|
|rampantly spilling over the paths in January...|