January 17, 2014

More cold and more snow today.



The Council

Brass Frog is gloating.  Cold and Snow! His friends were wrong, he was right and he knows it. (They might argue that point, but they won’t bother.  They were just saying that the earliest signs of spring were popping up during the brief thaw.  They know its winter.  There is no point in arguing with Frog.)

“Mint.” says Mary. “Lets talk about mint. One of our favorite members of the garden community but forever behaving like an unruly child. Like other years we need to have a strategy for both encouraging and containing the mint.

Here is the spearmint today:


And here is the peppermint:


I have a little peppermint at my feet too:


Of course, we can’t see them.  They are asleep for the winter. (Excuse me, did you hear that?  Did you hear what she just said? Mary thinks the mint is asleep for the winter.  Oh dear, even Mary thinks the plants sleep through the winter.)  But when they wake up in the spring, we will need a plan.  What do you think?”

Turtle pipes right up. He has been thinking about this, thinks he has a pretty good idea. “How about the old tires from the tractor? Ref has been waiting for a tox-a-way day to get rid of them, but I think we could put them to good use on the West Side.  Bury them partially, make a little round garden and plant the mint within them.  It would be very effective at containing the mint, keeping if from getting loose and growing all over the place.”

“Oh Turtle.” Says Bunny, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. I mean, it would work probably, and be very practical. But that’s not our style. Some gardens are full of things like old bicycles and wheelbarrows and bathtubs and things like that.  But we’ve never really done that kind of thing.  Well, honestly Turtle, tractor tires? I think it would be yucky.  I mean, just look at them.”


Gnome agrees. “Yes, Turtle, I agree with bunny. Practical but not our style.”

Turtle acquiesces quickly. (Have you ever noticed how sometimes you have a great idea in your head, but then when you speak it out loud to somebody else, it doesn’t really sound like a great idea after all?) Turtle is pretty proud of himself but he’s not stuck on every idea he ever had.

Stone Puppy, though, thinks Turtle is onto something, “Well, how about the same kind of idea with the logs from the locust trees that are in the big pile on the West Side?  You, know, the ones from the big blow down a few years ago?


We could have Ref make a little contained patch, like a raised garden, surrounded by locust logs.  Being locust, the logs will never rot. We could plant mint there and contain it.”

Turtle seizes the lifeline from Puppy.  “Hey, yeah, that would work and you know what? We could put the oregano in the same little garden.  Oh what fun.  Oregano and mint.  Plant them together and see who fares the best.”

Mary chimes in “Now you’re talking Turtle. That’s a good idea. Of course, I think we just want to move some of the mint.  Just enough to prune it back over here and get it started over there.  We most certainly want to keep some of it on this side too. We must leave some of it here to waft its lovely fragrance upon us.

Bunny agrees. “Yeah, I really love the smell of mint. It would be a shame not to have any of it in the main gardens here wouldn’t it? I mean you know what it’s like when Ref digs around it or harvests it.  The whole place smells like mint.  Mmmmmm.”

“Yep.”  agrees Gnome.  “And that ol’ Ref might not want to go hiking over to the West Side every time he wants a sprig of mint to enhance his drink of a summer evening.”

The Plants

Meanwhile, Yarrow has been listening into this whole conversation. Of course Yarrow has been listening. The Plants listen in on the Council at every possible opportunity. Yarrow races back down to the Pub to report the latest happenings. Yarrow loves this time of year.  Being one of the few perennials who can straddle the divide right now, Yarrow is a rare source of intelligence right at the critical time when the Council is planning for the next growing season.  Yarrow feels important.

The crowd in the Pub takes the report in stride. It seems reasonable. Nobody expected Mint to be removed from the primary gardens given how much the Council loves it. But it is encouraging to hear that they want to define a particular space for it on the West Side.  Maybe, that will encourage the Ref will be a little more ruthless with it as the Mints as they reach their stinky fingers out amongst the other plants in the main gardens.

The Mint Siblings like what they hear.  Spearmint and her little brother Peppermint (he fashions himself Mighty Mint) are thrilled. It sounds to them like it’s an easy expansion of their domain. They get to keep their current territory and they get new territory on the West Side. What more could they want? They laugh at the idea that pruning them back in the main gardens will contain them.  They will never be contained.  They know that. They wonder why the Council doesn’t know that.

The Mint Siblings sidle into the corner booth where Oregano sits alone.

Spearmint asks “Did you hear the news?  We are going to share our own garden on the West Side.”

Oregano responds with a non-committal “mmmhmmm.”

Peppermint leans forward, right up in Oregano’s face and says “I like it!”  He leans back and smiles. “Come on Oregano, think about it.  We’re not really like the others, are we?  They are flowers.  I mean, their purpose is to put on pretty blooms. We’re herbs.  We focus on being tasty. Oh, sure, we put on flowers, but only because the Ref lets us go to seed.  We’ve got lots in common, Oregano.  I think we can have some fun together over there.”

Oregano feels a rush of warmth and compassion towards the Mints.  They embrace his company.  They feel a kindred spirit with him.  Oregano, who believed himself hated by all, has been given a warm welcome with the Mints.  Maybe they will become friends in that little garden.  Maybe Oregano will no longer be so lonely.

“Plus, you know, Oregano.”  says Peppermint, unable to contain his Mighty Mint spirit.  “It will be fun to see how long you can survive, stuck in a contained garden with us.”