Thursday, July 7, 2016
Lucky Daisy and the Mystery Plant
When I went out to the garden the other day, I noticed a thriving plant that I was sure I hadn't planted. It's just about all weeds in the garden right now.
I've harvested (and eaten!) whatever yellow wax beans have grown, but the cucumbers and the English peas have failed. I have thinned the lemon basil so it would continue producing; the cuttings are drying nicely in the kitchen hall. I've left the spearmint alone because that will keep growing no matter what I do.
Although I tried to get things going in the garden this spring, circumstances were squarely against me so there's almost nothing worthwhile growing. Thank goodness for Mississippi's long summer season; it's not too late to grow something more if I'm able to get to work on it.
But what was that plant thriving strong and wild in the tiniest amount of soil in one bucket?
The bees were crazy for it, buzzing around tiny purplish flowers that were blooming in little clusters at the ends of spiky-looking stalks. It looked like some sort of mint. It looked familiar. It smelled familiar. I'm no plant expert but I thought I knew what it was so I decided to take it to someone who could tell whether my guess was right.
I brought a leaf to my elderly cat Daisy. She confirmed: it's catnip.
Strangely, though, I haven't planted catnip. Where could it have come from? I pondered and mulled and finally recalled one day last winter when I was pet-sitting. I had taken a little dried organic catnip to the neighbor's cats in a folded paper towel, and there were a lot of seeds in it so, without really thinking too much about it, I shook the seeds out over the planting bucket on my way home. Those tiny tenacious seeds took hold. If I had a perfectly tidy garden, this ordinary miracle could never have happened. Life is full of wonderful surprises like that.
That's how mystery catnip happens to be drying along side the lemon basil in the kitchen hall. Daisy has lots of happy moments to look forward to for a long time to come.