Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Green Casualty in the Minty Empire

Ahhh Mint - old reliable mint. He's been on the balcony garden from the very beginning. Way back when it was just a big pot of herbs he was there. Albeit basil and he just never saw eye to eye and he entered into a land war with oregano, but on the whole he was content simply to grow, multiply, and provide the muddle for my Mojito. One day he graduated to his own pot, and there he has remained. Indestructible - except for occasional rust. The above hardy specimen has survived aphid, spidermite, and caterpillar infestation, not to mention the world's most excessive pruning post-powdery mildew. And that pic above was taken AFTER out heatwave, so obviously successive days above 43 degrees did not phase old reliable mint too much.

However, old reliable reliably informed me that he was getting a little lonely. He longed for another mint to come join him in his balcony abode. I think he wanted to expand his minty empire, to compete with the basil brothers who held 6 varieties and were multiplying. Perchance, he asked politely could I bring him home a companion - perhaps an exotic Vietnamese mint, a sweet but bitey chocolate mint, or something, anything, just to relieve the loneliness. Shortly before Christmas, perhaps in the spirit of giving, the balcony garden received another mint. It was a ginger mint (a cross between corn mint and spearmint)- shown here getting acquainted with her new surroundings.

Of course she remained quarantined at first - tucked away behind the large tomato pots, in the relative safety near my bedroom door. It was here I could keep an eye on her, make sure she wasn't going to pass on something nasty to old reliable.

Then the heatwave hit! The tomato plants were all moved into the shadey bit of the balcony during the heat of the day. Unfortunately somebody forgot to tell miss ginger mint that she should probably make haste for the shade too. Doubley unfortunately I forgot completey about her. So within an hour she had wilted, turned brown, and shrivelled up.

Needless to say when I told old reliable he was devastated. But we did not give up hope. Despite being crispier than pork crackling I continued to water her in her new shady home behind the BBQ. It has been a week, and miracle upon miracle - she is starting to sprout new minty goodness. I also took a cutting from her just before the heat hit, and it too fried, but it is looking even healthier than the original!

So old reliable is over the moon, as am I and hopefully we can keep expanding the minty empire in the balcony garden.


Chandramouli S said...

Go! Go! Minties! Great to hear they're getting healthier! Nice to hear that you treat your plants like humans!

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

You want to know something funny? I've had the hardest time with mints. I can't get them to grow. I'm a bit ashamed by that fact, but there it is.

The Itinerant Gardener said...

Apparently herbs like to be pruned, which is a good thing where mint is concerned as one of the best things to do with it is to melt some dark chocolate, pick some of the leaves and dip them in it, let them set on some grease proof paper in the fridge and there you have it - your own after-dinner mints.

Another hot one coming up! Arghhhhh