By Heather O.
(Aaaaand, here’s the promised post about my garden. Did you think we could get through spring without one? Psha!)
I posted here a while ago that we should all be like weeds. Forget “Bloom where you are planted”, go for being tenacious and strong and hard to destroy no matter what kind of soil you’re in. Flowers are wussy. Be a weed.
I thought Crab Grass was the ultimate in weeds. We battle crab grass every year, and it ALWAYS comes back. But this year, I have a new favorite winner of the tenacity prize.
I mean, I *thought* I knew. We planted mint in our old garden, the plot we bought within a community garden, and a neighboring gardener just shook her head and said, “You will NEVER get that stuff out. That stuff just takes over.”
She’s right, of course. It does. When we moved here, we decided not to fight it and gave an entire bed over to the mint, because we like the idea of mint so very much. It smells good, it can quench your thirst if you suck on it, and it tastes great in lemonade. And after spending some time in Israel, where they make these awesome mint lemonade smoothie thingies with fresh mint, I was even more grateful we had access to our own mint supply.
We tried to play it safe, though. My husband dug a hole big enough for a terra cotta pot, and put the mint IN the pot, then sunk the pot. The idea was that the roots wouldn’t escape the pot, so the mint wouldn’t take over so fast.
Funny, funny gardeners, thinking that controlling mint’s roots made a hoot of difference. I wonder if the mint actually laughed at us as we did it.
Over the years, I have largely ignored the mint bed, letting it be. But then this season, I decided I wanted to build some honest to goodness flower beds, and my MIL suggested I add pineapple sage to the mix, a lovely green plant with an awesome fragrance that blossoms with beautiful red flowers in the summer. I decided to clean up the mint bed, and add the pineapple sage to do battle with the mint.
Oh. My. Gosh.
That mint was everywhere. Under our deck, creeping into our grass, growing up the gutter pipe. Screw the terra cotta pot, it was like the plant said, “Contain me? Yeah right, sucka!” I spent at least an hour just pulling it out, pushing it back. And all the while, it graced me with its lovely fragrance, and made my hands smell like a happy piece of candy.
We have also found mint invading our vegetable bed, as we often mulch with grass clippings, and I have been known to mow over a stray mint outreach in the lawn. Seriously, do you know what that means? It means that an entire plant grew from CLIPPINGS. We pulled it up right away, of course, not letting it take root, but really? Clippings? Clippings that had been shredded in a lawn mower and strewn out on top of beds to DRY? You can take root out of THAT?
So, to sum up, this plant can grow in the dark, climb up a damp tube, and propagate even when its roots are contained. It can be shredded, dried, and spread out for mulch, and still thrive. It can be dug up almost entirely by a black lab’s furious paws and mashed by said 105 pound lab’s body ROLLING through it (I guess mint is offensive to dog’s noses?), and still thrive. It can live through under-watering, over-watering, and flood conditions, heck, even a freakin’ HURRICANE and still thrive. And all the while, it smells delicious. And we haven’t even gotten to the various claims of mint’s medicinal properties, but I can tell you first hand that peppermint oil does great things for poison ivy.
So forget trying to be a delicate rose. Forget trying to even be a tenacious weed. Be mint, letting nothing get in your way but spreading joy and sharing your talents with others while you do it.
Or, you know, something like that. It’s late, and I may have pushed this garden metaphor a little far.
Tomorrow I’m making some mint lemonade smoothie thingies.
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