Patchouli Plants, and Garden Spurts

The food gardens are taking off the way they do in late June. There’s visible growth each day. It’s thrilling. Now is the time to give everything a good feeding of pure nitrogen. In July, we’ll have - at the very least - summer squash, peaches, young tomatoes, and lots of greens for eating. A few weeks after that, we’ll be harvesting Asian long beans, green beans, scarlet runner beans, hyacinth beans, cucumbers, mature tomatoes, sweet peppers, Thai hot peppers, jalapeno peppers, and Asian melons.

We had to tie up peach tree branches with garden twine last night. The abundance of fruit on the branches is weighing them down to the point that they will start snapping. I took one for the team, and pruned off some extremely heavy lower branches. That’s a loss of many peaches, but if we get just half of the peaches that are on the trees now, we’ll be completely inundated with peaches. This is a problem I love to have.

The papaya trees that were not doing well in full sun are doing better in partial shade. They have new leaf growth. The turmeric is coming along slowly. The potted bananas are springing up. The basjoo bananas at the front of the house are steadily growing. The pandan is doing great in full sun.

This weekend, a gardening friend is heading to Massachusetts to pick up some patchouli plants from one of the rare nurseries that sells them. Of course, I just rained cash down on her head and begged her to get me a few.

I tried growing patchouli years ago with no luck. I’m not sure what went wrong, other than the fact that this plant, which is a member of the mint family, is a native of South India and not Connecticut. We gardeners, in our enthusiasm, sometimes forget that it’s often just a case of a plant doesn’t belong here and won’t thrive no matter how carefully we tend it. But I’m ready to give this another try.

The fragrant leaves of patchouli are intoxicating. The plant is lovely with its glossy, dark green foliage and spikes of purple flowers. I love patchouli, but my husband hates it, so outside of Kiss My Face patchouli oil shower gel, which I buy from Foodworks and sneak into the house, I don’t indulge my love for this herb around our home or on my body.

I’m so psyched about the patchouli plants, but I’m prepared for bad news: they may very well be sold out by this weekend. Gardeners go wild for these rarities. There are few better things in life than pots of patchouli unfurling in the sun. I may have to put my adorable husband up in a hotel for summer.

Live in peace.

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