Mr. Shady, The Plant Thief

That's right. I stole plants.

Now, before you get all angry and/or biblical on me, I should tell you that the plants I stole were my own.

It's a complicated situation. Well, maybe not that complicated. I got an almost 500 square foot plot at a community garden this year. Despite a twice-broken collarbone, the death of my niece, and the time required to plan greening efforts for Capital Pride Alliance, I managed to maintain the garden at some level and to weed regularly--that is, up until July, when I went to Canada for a friend's wedding. The moment I returned after that weeklong endeavour, I went high gear into DC State Fair planning. The dry, exceedingly hot summer had discouraged me, and I still couldn't hoe without shoulder and arm pain, so weeding had become an issue, especially considering that my garden plot was almost 100 square feet larger than my apartment!

So... I abandoned the plot, by default. I let it sit unattended. I let the weeds take over, and because of that, I'm not allowed back. Them's the rules, although no one has actually voiced the eviction to me officially, yet--I just assume. I feel bad, but this year, it has been a struggle keeping up with the plants in my own living room, let alone at Mr. Yogato or at my community garden. I prioritized, and the community garden was cut from the list.

But that doesn't mean I don't care about my plants! I did put a lot of plants in there, fully intending that I'd maintain and retain the plot for more than just this year. I didn't want to waste my entire investment in the garden, but I didn't feel comfortable going there and facing the scorn, pity, condescension, what-have-you that I thought the other gardeners might have for me if they saw me there, even if I were weeding (which was an experience I had while weeding once--and yes, that was a factor in my abandonment).

So, a few weeks ago on Friday after it became dark, I snuck to my garden with a friend to dig up what plants I could find by the light of his iPhone.

This sage was doing quite nicely in the community garden. I grew it from seed that my friend purchased from Old Sturbridge Village, but although it was doing alright on my windowsill, I decided to plant it outdoors because, well, it grows better outdoors. And it did grow awesomely! After I dug it up, it kind of went a little unhappy, but it's still growing, so I have hopes that it'll survive (again) indoors.

The shiso? It wasn't as amenable to the transplanting. It grew very well in the four-foot-tall grass that surrounded it, but being dug up and potted indoors didn't agree terribly with it. It was flowering at the time of clandestine plant smuggling, so I've collected some seeds from it that I might try to start to grow indoors this winter.

I purchased this lemon verbena specifically to grow in the community garden plot, because Erin of The 6x8 Garden turned me on to it. And it grew amazingly well! Once I dug it up and transplanted it indoors, however, it started shriveling up and dying.

But, I kept the plant potted and watered it occasionally, and in the past week, it has sprouted new growth along the base and a lot of the older stems!

I decided that the plant deserved a trim, also. I don't want the thing growing too bushy in my apartment!

And in the background is an escaped coleus I dug up with my beau. It was in front of an apartment complex and had kind of run out of the landscaping area. I was worried it would be weeded or weed-whacked by the landscapers. It was the only red-fuschia one in a sea of lime-green coleus, so it was obviously meant to be saved by me! The boy's mother loves coleus, so he made me promise to take very good care of it. It seems like it should be not terribly difficult indoors, especially considering how I show my love with watering. These suckers can grow fast and use a lot of water!

The dried lemon verbena leaves are very lemon-fragrant still, so I collected them and plan on using them in teas, syrups, something-or-other. I haven't looked up a lot of recipes yet, but I'm sure anything I use them in will be awesome!

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