This season, I'm sharing my small community garden plot with another woman who has no time. She transplanted a long-established comfrey, which is out of control in a good way, and a peony, which neither of us expected to take well the first year. It not only settled in happily, but was covered with about-to-burst buds one day. A week later, the poor thing looked like it had been hacked to shreds. Someone had stolen the flowers, despite my fence and tall gate wired with unintentionally spiked spears of fencing. Now, we don't know if the peony plant will make it. Times are hard when people steal flowers to sell.
Untouched of course are the pungent sage, bursting with flowers the color of the heart of a flame, in fact, all the herbs--which are what are most valuable, of course. I eat weeds. I leave little bits of things drying around the kitchen and in glasses of water, which ticks my triple-Virgo husband off. I snip into a salad bowl violet leaves and flowers, the early fennel and mint that has to go, anyway, small dandelion leaves, and my favorite, the purslane.
This volunteer is frighteningly healthy, with tons of omega-3s, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, lots more. I know people from the islands cook it like spinach, but that's not for me; it's too much like okra, that texture that is politely described as "mucilaginous." Raw, it's crisp and citrusy. You can feel it being good for you. The woman who taught me about Santeria and Candomble used to use it as a "bath," where you combine herbs, soak in water and pour over your body or head. It is an Eshu/Mercury herb, so it's one of mine. People used to soak it in water and then make a skin treatment, and it has enough acid to make it akin to an over-the-counter toner.
So. I love peonies, but I will be grateful for purslane.
I'm hiatus-izing this blog for a while and hiking my heinie over to my poetry-event-only one-time temporary-installation blog, Come Hear Poets, cause I can't keep track of that and the purslane and most of all the dear child, who will soon be out of school and mine to enjoy and hug and play with for more long, summer hours. I'll come back to this guy when Artomatic is over.
Image: Gorgeous, or what? By Thalia Took. You can get her a lot clearer and closer, on a tarot deck, poster or even t-shirt, here.