Saturday, February 11, 2012


What you see is a rosemary plant and a bay plant. I have no idea why these plants are still alive. The basil, cilantro and parsley are long deceased. I’ve had them both for a while and they have been treated with the same sort of benign neglect that I’ve bestowed on the last few amaryllis bulbs from my mothers collection and a goldfish plant left behind by a co-worker eight years ago. They’ve been living in a south facing sunroom and get watered when I remember. They all summer on the patio outdoors.

This past January, I felt bad for them, and finally repotted all of them. Shockingly, they are starting to grow. On the flip side, I’ve managed to kill another orchid, and while I can grow beautiful herbs outdoors in pots and in the ground, my indoor plant growing track record is spotty at best. I am still amazed that a Christmas cactus is blooming out of season, and a Norfolk Pine from Christmas is still alive since they really get so little help from me.

The freezer proves my lousy record each fall, with neatly marked packages and cubes of cilantro, parsley, basil, chervil and lovage. The windowsill has zip, except for my old stalwarts, rosemary and bay. Those two plants are certainly the definition of tenacity. Too bad I’ve yet to find a way for those old friends to have a few buddies for the whole winter, like chervil or parsley. That south facing room should be perfect.

Finding a way to have good, fresh cooking herbs in the house is near the top of my list each fall. Along the way I’ve even acquired a pair of Aerogardens. While I find them invaluable for starting vegetable seeds, the cheap part of me won’t run them all winter, and I did use one the first year I had it, just for some fresh parsley and basil. It doesn’t make sense to me to send $15 to the electric company to run a tiny hydroponic unit for a month so I can have $3.00 worth of fresh herbs.

But the days are noticeably longer, and the outdoor garden is commanding my attention now. There’ll be fresh rosemary for some lamb at Easter, and fresh bay for soup, so the rosemary and bay plants are just going to have to do for now. Until next year.

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