A Story of Three Survivors

The Blue Starflower

Upon seeing some Borage (Borago officinalis) seedlings on a common path, in one of the community gardens I am a member of, I decided to take one to plant in my other garden.  It’s an annual that readily self-seeds but has a carrot-like tap root making it difficult to transplant.  I managed to successfully dig one up, plant it in a gallon container and take it home.  After about two weeks it looked strong enough to withstand being transplanted into the Herb and Flower bed.

Tucked into an open space between the Russian Sage and a mass of California Poppies, I envisioned the cluster of blue starflowers happily waving above the other herbs and left the garden.  A few days later, I came back to water and check on the borage…only to find it gone.  I wondered if a gopher had eaten it, maybe a Wild Turkey plucked it out…what happened to the borage would remain a mystery.




Big Surprise

About three weeks passed and the Herb and Flower bed flourished.  And while weeding I spotted a wink of blue…and there she was!  The Borage.  What?



I Like Kale, too!

 I harvested and brought a big bouquet of chards, parsley and kales home one afternoon.   Processing them is a standard routine for me.  I rinse the leaves, lay them on clean towels, wrap the ends with a wet paper towel, store them in a plastic bag in the crisper.  Greens will keep up to two weeks that way I’ve found and it’s wonderful to always have fresh chards and kales!

To Save or Not to Save

The next day I wanted to use some of the chards so I took what I wanted out of the bag and shook the extra moisture off them in the kitchen sink.  Rinsing them again I noticed a little green caterpillar at the bottom of the sink and turned off the faucet to keep it from flowing down the drain.  It looked dead.  At least very cold.  But I noticed a slight movement, placed it on a dry towel and realized it was very much alive.  I shredded a small piece of fresh kale and placed it on top of it.  Within about 30 minutes the hungry baby caterpillar found the edge and began chewing.

 After doing a little research to identify it, I found out it is a butterfly commonly known as a Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) in the family Pieridae.


Temporary Quarters

Host plants for this butterfly are the Cruciferous vegetables (Brassicaceae family).  I cleaned out a jar, dried it, shredded some kale and gently placed the caterpillar inside.  Wrapping a paper towel over the top as a lid, I pricked some tiny holes into it to let air in and let it rest in it’s quiet new home.  In some situations, this caterpillar is not well-liked and in fact, considered a pest because in large numbers it can do a lot of damage to a crop.  In my small garden, that’s not the case.

Poop is a Good Sign

Once the baby butterfly started to poop I knew it was on its way to health and vigor.  The next morning, I took the jar to my garden and placed her on one of the kales to complete her life cycle.  There’s enough for both of us.

An Old English Cottage Garden Favorite

The name of this particular Sweet Pea caught my attention when I leafed through the Renee’s catalog in the fall of 2015.  And who can resist the old-fashioned appeal of cottage flowers like Sweet Peas!   I planted the seeds with utmost care along the length of the trellis in the Herb and Flower bed.  Within 10 days or so, the seedlings popped out of the soil and I was thrilled.  Within 12 days, they were all gone.  Grasshopper buffet. Gone.



The Sweet Peas!

While weeding I felt a thick stem imbedded in a mass of Shasta Daisies and Poppies and lifted the vine to expose a cluster of …Sweet Pea flowers???  SO, TWO years later, some of the seeds survived, were viable and grew?  Now the Sweet Peas are a showpiece in the garden and you would not believe how fragrant they are.  There are more pods full of Sweet Peas than I could have ever hoped for.

SO, there you have it.  Three examples of survival in the garden, against all odds.  As a poet and caregiver, I detect more than one metaphor in these little stories.  Do you?


One Response to “A Story of Three Survivors”

  1. Yana says:

    Spectacular photos…and each story a clear lesson in the ingrained survival instinct of all living things…something basic within which we can find both inspiration, and far deeper meaning…

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