I’m so pleased!
I don’t know how long ago it was, perhaps a year? Chris bought me a small pot of basil from the supermarket: this was for me to use in my cooking (pizzas etc).
Well, I already knew that if I plucked the leaves but didn’t damage the stems, that the leaves would grow back.
I thought “why not look after it? One day it might give you basil babies, and they’ll give you basil babies”, and so on and so on.
Sure enough, time passed and I had one or two stems develop flowers! This is always an exciting time for amateur gardeners like myself.
With new plants though, I don’t always know where on earth the flowers or seeds will come from, “what do I have to do?”.
I did all I could do, and left it to Mother Nature.
(Assigning a human characteristic to a non-human thing is called, anthropomorphism).
In time the leaves went brown, and sat there looking sorry for themselves, but after looking on the internet, I found out that the seeds were sitting inside, waiting to be found!
Gleefully, I gently rubbed the seed pods and “low and behold” there they were, tiny little black seeds: basil babies! 30 of them, or more!
So, in my excitement I grew them all at once (possibly a mistake), the lure of having a huge pot of fresh basil was too much for me to resist.
In Craig’s world, it would be a symbiotic little microcosm of culinary pleasure.
I’d pluck it, it would grow bigger and bigger, I’d eat more, it would grow more, and I’d feel like I had a place on the earth, as the basil master, walking along a sentimental farm track, hand in leaf, as the orange sunset kissed our close family cheeks.
So, in my excitement I put the daddy basil plant out into the warm autumnal garden, and he died.
(Sorry for the Bambi moment there hehe)
But cry yee not, I had daddy basil’s sons and daughters to plant, and we’d remember daddy basil, through his children.
Life was beautiful, we plucked, ate and re-spawned, everything was idyllic until they came!!
Green, spiny evil hoards of aphids intent on sucking my beautiful basil family to death, swarmed all over the baby leave and started to set up camp there, intent on raising their babies on my leaves!
All but one stem of basil, perished!
All of the basil family were dead, but a happy memory, and there was the one man standing!!
A propagated stem, that I’d hopefully taken from the dying plant.
He survived, but he took on the mighty aphid army, he yellowed, he looked ill.
I had to make a decision, do I let him die? Or do I fight to keep him alive??
Despondent upon the loss of my beautiful basil family, I shamefully took some time to make my decision, but I decided to fight!
So I started to inspect my little basil stem, every day, and kill any aphid that I could find.
I started to wash my poor little basil stem in soapy water every other day, and I watched in cold blood as the aphid invaders slipped from my remaining, sickly little yellow leaves.
Oh what a terrible father I’d been, the guilt weighing me down, “how could I have been so stupid to kill 2 families of basil that wanted to love me?”.
I was determined to nurse this little nameless basil stem, back to health.
I changed his pot from a small, nutrient depleted home, to a bigger pot, full of new compost, and I went to Chris’ house for over a month.
I asked my brother to water him for me, so the stem wouldn’t die.
Today when I went over to my mam’s house, I found him, standing there in bright sunlight, about 15 inches tall, dark green, with flowers on top!
My little sickly basil, the last man standing, has survived the terrifying aphid attack, and lived to prosper!
He fought and fought, and refused to die; he took pain, suffered neglect, no-one believed in him, no-one wanted him, everyone expected him to give up and die. Only to be forgotten, but he refused.
He refused to die, he refused to fail, he overcame every obstacle that was thrown at him, and succeeded!!!
And that’s why I’m naming him, “Craig”.
My little “Braveheart” the sole survivor of two generations of my basil babies.
We live on! We fight again! We will walk hand in leaf down the sun-kissed rural lanes once more.
His sons shall give me sons, and his sons shall give me sons once more!! My little 80p basil plant, will live with me forever!