Monday, June 22, 2009

Eleanor Perenyi on herb farms


Borage, a Jupiterian herb
Photo credit: Jengod

You've done it, I've done it--the over-buying of herbs. Eleanor Perenyi comments, in the fourth of a series of excerpts from Green Thoughts (1981):

My corner of New England happens to be well endowed with herb farms and my will power easily sapped by the sight of plants for sale. Surely a gold-leaved marjoram wouldn't be amiss? What about a Lavandula viris from the Canary Islands? And inevitably the car fills up with plants that will turn out to be too large, too small, or simply not as interesting as their history and provenance have made them sound. There is, I find, that drawback to herbs. No other class of plant bears such a weight of myth and symbolism, and it can be oversold. For me there comes a time when it isn't enough to know that a plant was sacred to Jupiter, used to ward off snakes, a symbol of loyalty or mentioned by Theophrastus, when all it looks like is a not very exciting wild flower/weed.


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8 comments:

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hi there DP ! I have heard this is a great companion plant for growing grapes .. I've meant to try it out but haven't gotten there yet .. but YES !! I buy herbs upon herbs .. I love parsley, rosemary .. have basil for the scent .. lemon verbena is my favorite when it comes to scent .. dill and fennel as well. I guess you can see I'm an herb nut too ? LOL
My favorite book is "The Herb Bible" : )

Kim and Victoria said...

You're so right. I grew borage once, and was not impressed.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Well, new to me. I read the mint post as well.

This is enjoyable stuff. It's idiosyncratic and I love it. It's going to have to go into my amazon basket.

cheers

Daffodil Planter said...

GardenJoy, Borage and grapes? How interesting! Herb nuts welcome here!

Kim and Victoria, Well, that's two votes against borage (you and the Baroness).

Rob, Idiosyncratic is a good word for Eleanor Perenyi. Trenchant is another that is often use. Never stale.

Susan_Morrison said...

Like the way she doesn't sugarcoat her message, yet still communicates it poeteically.

Daffodil Planter said...

Susan, Well put!

Maranta said...

I think it's time to create the next generation of folklore, symbolism and questionable remedies to apply to boring plants so that future generations will have something to regret buying. I, for one, have heard that Vinca minor cures computer viruses.

Daffodil Planter said...

Maranta, What would we do without you?!