Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The great basil do-over

The basil plants I planted in mid-May are not happy with me -- or with Bermtopia for that matter. My little herbal divas did not enjoy the 40 days and 40 nights of precipitation we've just suffered through. And a short cold snap where temps hovered right around 29-30 for a couple of nights really ticked them off. Even after I swaddled them in the Glad Wrap to keep them warm. And you all know how I feel about plastic wrap.

A a result, this is what I have now:

Instead of this:

It IS kind of pathetic.

Life is short, and the growing season in Bermtopia is even shorter. Therefore, I am hoisting the white flag and surrendering. It's time for a basil do-over.

By and large, I'm a pragmatic gardener. I gravitate toward plant tags that read "Drought tolerant" and "Thrives on neglect." If a plant is high maintenance, it's in someone else's garden.
Except for basil. Basil is my Achilles heel. My blind spot. You can't have summer without fresh basil. It would be downright un-American. And store-bought doesn't count.

Without basil, there is no pesto, no caprese salad with my Tigerella heirloom tomatoes and balsamic reduction, no let's-just-throw-in-a-handful-of-basil-and-see-what-happens. It makes me sad just thinking about the possibility of a basil-free summer.

And so, yesterday after work, I beelined it to one of my favorite nurseries and picked out four new plants. They go in the planter this afternoon, following a brief memorial service for their fallen comrades. I've promised my new arrivals there will be nothing but sunshine, days in the 80s and nights in the 60s from this day forward.

And then, of course, this being Bermtopia, the temperature dropped and it promptly began to rain.

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