Growing Up with Parsley

I don’t think IT folk make good gardeners, but I have found a plant that I can just about handle.

At the supermarket the other day, my girlfriend needed parsley, planning to cook a chicken hash, requiring the ubiquitous green leaves for flavouring. Whilst I was stood amidst the fruit pondering the gala apples she returned from the herb section with a curious looking pot bulging with emerald stems. “It’s cheaper to buy the plant than the packets, plus we might be able to grow this and get more out of it.”

Needless to say I was sceptical of this latter point, but her core cost-saving argument was hard to beat. Once back at mine she placed the plant on a small plate, and positioned it on my kitchen window sill. And then she left it to me.

I’ve never tried to grow anything before. That’s a lie actually; my mum once bought me a Venus flytrap, but my teenage morbidity was disappointed to discover it didn’t have a veracious appetite. Hand-feeding insects via tweezers into the gaping maws yielded inconsistent reflexive responses from the traps, and eventually the plant died, possibly from too much love.

With the parsley staring at me every time I did the washing-up I couldn’t help but be drawn to it. Its long stems had drooped, lazily hanging down the sides of the pot and onto the surrounding sill. I resisted the urge to resort to the internet for horticultural advice; I simply began watering it, just a gentle soak, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. After doing this for a few days I absent-mindedly found myself pruning the dead heads whilst listening to the radio. What was happening to me?

The drooping stopped, and the stems began to lift. The morning I walked into the kitchen and saw its raised limbs I grinned like an idiot until lunchtime. Using only common-sense I had revived it, and it was blossoming (figuratively, obviously).

This plant is my pride and joy. A few weeks have passed, and Parsley is thriving (yes; I have named him Parsley. Parsley the parsley). Every meal I’ve prepared since his arrival has had a curious parsley undertone. For someone with no natural desire for horticulture parsley is perfect for me; just water it and let it do its thing, and it’s robust enough to withstand three days without water when I was on holiday in Wales. The first thing I did upon my arrival home was to storm through the house to quench his thirst, as if every second counted.

I’m told that Parsley is an annual, and thus one day will die, and when that happens I think I might be sad. Having never taken much interest in plants before this has been a pleasant experience for me – despite being a very “light weight” entry into the world of gardening. Maybe I’ll get some basil next. Basil the basil.

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