In 2006, while waiting in the limbo which was my exile in Memphis after the failure of the federal levees, I went to herbalist school. I had always been interested in herbs, and loved to experience them in all of their many forms. Since I had the time, it made sense to finally make a dream a reality.
I signed up for a course. I read about teas, tinctures and poultices. I learned the history of the different ways of practicing herbal medicine. I started my own little herb collection. At first, it was contained in a three-drawer plastic cabinet. Now my collection resides in a six-foot tall cupboard of solid oak, made for me by the husband of a client.
If you give me an herb, I can tell you about it. Where it grows, how it was used in ancient times, and what function it performs. I can tell you the best way to prepare it. I can do it all, but I have a secret herbalist shame.
I have a black thumb. Yes, you read right. I cannot keep plants alive to save my life. Growing up, I spent summers in my mother's large garden. I helped to plant and care for the various vegetables and fruits. In the summer months, I was sent out to pick raspberries or rhubarb. You'd think that this background, and my interest in herbs would combine to make me a wonderful gardener. But you would be wrong, dead wrong. And dead is usually where my plants end up.
I have decided to try once again to cultivate some skill in this area. To that end, I went to the nursery with my SSP on Friday.
The nursery in question is famous for the green parrots which fly around outside, and even enter into the store itself. You can frequently see store workers walking around with beautiful green parrots on their shoulders. Even though I don't have a green thumb, I have always liked going to the Green Parrot Nursery.
My SSP and I arrive. We begin touching and sniffing the different herbs. Oregano, thyme, and shallots. Orange Mint, Pepper Mint, and Mojito Mint. Several different kinds of Lavender, Rosemary and Lemon Balm. I touched and sniffed them all. Then I tasted some.
We had a great deal of fun walking amongst the tiny pots with their contents bursting forth. I picked out four plants to start. Mojito Mint, Apple Mint, Lemon Balm, and Rosemary. I went in to pay, and my SSP was describing the parrots to me. One of them was enjoying a snack with one of the workers at the shop. The man had a hamburger, and he took little bites off of his sandwich, and placed them upon his knee. The bird would fly down, pick up the bite, and return to the man's shoulder. I didn't know that green parrots had blue and other colors on them as well. This is one of the reasons I love going places with my SSP-- I have my very own describer.
We loaded the herbs into the car and drove to Walmart to look at flower pots. Unfortunately, the only ones that would work for my herbs were a horrible beige color. This would not do, not at all. However, there wasn't really any other choice, and I still had to make groceries, and my SSP time would be running out. Finally I decided to get the ugly pots and then we went to the children's section and got some finger paints. They are bright, primary colors and will work to make my pots less boring.
Today, my project is to paint the pots. Once they dry, I will let the baby herbs move into their newly painted homes.
Now, if someone can just remind me to water them, I'll be set.