Monday, July 27, 2015

No plant left behind

One of the herbs planted in the built-in wooden boxes on the edge of the Harlem terrace is Calamintha nepeta.  It has been planted in my city gardens ever since I learned how long-blooming it is: few perennials will flower from June till frost.

Honey bees and other insects love the tiny white flowers.

The leaves are intensely minty, and the cut stems last well in water. The plant tolerates some drought, and loathes to have wet feet. Here, it receives only four hours of direct sun, and it has grown huge. The specimen above traveled with us from Brooklyn in late 2013, and it is now going...all the way back (we just signed a lease on a garden apartment in Carroll Gardens). I have transplanted it and another into a galvanized bucket. Calamintha, on the move.

So - there is the same wooden planter, empty of perennials ( we are still eating the parsley), and there are the two calaminthas on the deck, waiting for moving day. The bees do not mind the change in elevation. But in a week or two they will be buzzing hungrily.

How we move those tall Nicotiana mutabilis without snapping them is another story. Tears before bedtime.

The buckets. Why? They are quite cheap, and they are light. And I find them inoffensive aesthetically, once the stickers are off. Much better than plastic, and lighter and cheaper than terra cotta. I am worried about moving-weight for the big terra cotta pots. In our new place we may want to house plants for a while in their containers while we settle in, and I won't mind looking at galvanized metal.

There's a hole in my bucket, dear... All the buckets need to keep plants happy is a drainage hole. Easily achieved with a hammer and a pointy thing. This unscrewable hammer with smaller screwdriver heads within the handle is the kind of tool that makes real craftspeople wince. But I've used this one for about 15 years and I refuse to be shamed. The smallest screwdriver head makes the hole and the larger ones wiggle it wider.

I'd have made an excellent caveperson. As long as people let me stay in my cave until I was ready to leave.

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