The Weekly Gardener 1


Saint Patrick's Day

All Things Green and Lucky

Yellow Rose

It seems fitting, on this of all days, to make a list of plants that bring luck, you know, just in case. Let's start with the classics: lavender and roses. No garden should be without them - lavender for luck, roses for love.

Honesty and sage attract prosperity to the household. It is said that if sage grows well in your garden, you'll never lack for anything. Honesty specifically pertains to the increase of money, because of its round seed pods that look like coins.

Lucky bamboo brings happiness, prosperity and long life. Ivy growing on a house will protect the inhabitants from curses and evil spirits.

Basil is a potent love charm, used frequently for this purpose by those so inclined. It also keeps fights and gossip at bay and ensures happiness and harmony in the household. Basil is an auspicious plant in general, it promotes good health and long life and keeps travelers safe on their journeys.

Since it's Saint Patrick's Day we have to mention the four leaf clover, the universal symbol of good luck.

If none of these good luck plants is heavy duty enough for your needs, here's the showpiece: white swallow-wort. Old wives' tales have it that if you manage to get a piece of it built into the skin of your palms, you will be able to open any lock, you won't be harmed by anything made of metal, you will get the ability to find treasure and you will understand and speak the language of animals. Don't go out chasing for it, it never grows in the same place for more then one year, after which it moves, skipping three rivers at a time, and you only have a chance to find it in the same place again every nine years. Still, useful.


The Gardening Year


I was browsing through past years' gardening articles and I got overtaken by this feeling of certainty and permanence. It is extraordinary how consistent nature's cycles are, almost down to the day of the first bloom, the last frost, the unavoidable late freeze. Keeping a gardening journal makes this pattern obvious and somewhat discomforting, this truth that all things green abide by a gigantic cosmic timepiece of uncanny precision.

I suppose after almost twenty years of gardening I should be embarrassed to rediscover the elementary fact every experienced farmer takes for granted, but then the wonderment, the expectation, the joy of beholding the first shivering daffodil would be gone.

The garden only experiences one year, but it does so for decades, sometimes centuries. It gets established but it never gets old, it doesn't carry its hurts and misfortunes from one year to the next: come winter the cycle is complete and the following spring brings with it another chance to start fresh, unencumbered by the past.

I guess I could, by now, anticipate that in about a month all the perennials will be fully grown and the flower beds will be covered in violets. I could guarantee that the first week of June will see the first tomato, or that mid-May the roses will be flush with bloom. I could anticipate the veil of Heavenly Blue morning glories that always heralds the beginning of September, but just because I expect all of these things to happen, it doesn't mean I won't rejoice in them just the same.

When I was much younger I wrote that the secret of eternity is repetition and congruence. I had no earthly idea what I was talking about at the time, which is proof that even a stopped clock is going to be right twice a day.