Wednesday, 7 November 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow:

I have the paternal instinct of sand, and about as much desire to procreate as I do to harbour a colony of wasps in my sinus. I am, however, very fatherly towards my rapidly expanding collection of herbs here at Stepford Manor. That said, I'm also something of a deadbeat dad. Like, I'm all proud of my kids when they're growing and developing really well, but the second something starts to go wrong - I'm out of there.

Case in point - in the photo above you can see the verdant leaves of my two recently acquired black Helebore plants.
A lot of my favourite American Bloggers just have to traipse outside into the woods besides their homes to gather abundant Hellebore for their workings. Here in Australia, not so much. So when I saw these beauties in the local Hardware store I snatched them up greedily and rushed them home. I think of them as my problem children, the ones with a wasting illness. They are fickle and almost impossible to care for. I really need to Google how to properly care for them. I'm pretty sure screaming "WHY WON'T YOU GROW? WHY DO YOU HATE DADDY?" probably isn't helping them at all...

Next up we have the tomatoes. I'm not of Italian heritage at all, but I do love Italian food, and the desire to get all rustic and make and bottle my own tomato sauce appeals to my Kitchen Witches heart at a very deep level. If you're familiar with John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick, you'll remember Alexandra having unnaturally abundant tomatoes and making and bottling her own sauce, with a pinch of Mandrake and a pinch of her husband's ashes... I am Alexandra.

These are the three runaway daughters I accidentally adopted and didn't realise I wanted until they were already in my house, fucking with my TV. They're all named Melissa, but you can call them Lemon Balm. These arrived, would you believe, in compost from my dad's house. Skinny and malnourished, wilting and looking pretty shitty, I threw them in pots completely convinced that they would drop dead at any moment. As you can see, they're coming along in leaps and bounds. I cannot wait to brew myself a cooling tea from their leaves in the height of summer.

Ah, the scrappy little champions I was convinced were going to die (you can sense how much faith I have in my own ability with my plants, right?), but are FINALLY starting to come good. These feathery little shoots belong to Yarrow, which is a common enough roadside weed here in Australia, but true to form, I wanted to own my own personal Yarrow plant that I grew from scratch. After a disastrous attempt at germinating a bunch of seedlings of a host of traditional European Witches herbs, I have only these to show for my efforts.

These are my college-age children, who really should have moved out and gotten jobs by now. From Top left you have: Angelica, Tobacco, Wormwood, and Dwarf Foxglove. I'm hoping to harvest some stems from the Angelica to make crystallised Angelica this year, and the Tobacco is coming along in leaps and bounds since his traumatic transplanting from the main veggie patch into a special pot. The Wormwood is only a recent acquisition, but she's a fast grower and resilient too. I am not happy with her 'tattoos', but I'm not much sure what to do about them. The Dwarf Foxglove actually has flower buds this year, so I am hoping for some beautiful blooms.

And last but not least, the scraggly stray I picked up at a Church fete this weekend past. I've always loved Forget Me Not, and sensed a special magic to the plant. Chancing upon this problem child really was a treat, and I can't wait to give it a make over (I say it because this is the first plant I've come into contact with that's felt aggressively gender-neutral... who knows what that's about).

So, there you have it, an update on my brood of leafy children. This isn't all or even most of them by any means, and I'll do my best to make like a proud dad and show them off in the upcoming weeks.



  1. Wormwood is fast growing, it handles pruning really well too, mine is enormous and I practically butchered....I mean pruned it one time and it grew back no probs.

  2. I think I'll have to take a swing at her with the clippers soon - though I am a little worried about whatever's gnawing on her leaves - much have a fairly tough stomach :S

    Thanks for the tip though :)