Sunday, February 24, 2008


There is a small olive tree in our garden - with ten olives on it.

Throughout the winter, they stayed green. The topmost ones are now almost black and the ones on the lower branches are a beautiful, slowly darkening, reddy-brown.

I’m proud of my ten olives. They are very small, with hardly any flesh. But olive trees are special. They symbolise peace and nourishment and can live for a thousand years.

Ming says they don’t have olive trees on Mars.

A clump of lemon balm has over-wintered on the windowsill above our kitchen sink.

Balm grows knee high. This is a bonsai version - but not for much longer.

I’ve given it space!

As soon as I’d eased it from its cramped, three inch pot and disentangled its roots, it seemed to draw in a deep, deep breath.

Then, when I’d split it in three and planted it newly in five inch pots, the poor, scentless thing let out this same breath in a long, long sigh of relief; satisfaction; and joyful liberation.

It perked up straight away and has started to grow.

Its newly divided self is, of course, in clay pots.

I hate plastic pots. Absolutely hate them. They are featureless, characterless and immutable.

Clay pots change colour through the years. They grow white patches and green patches and bits chip off the top.

Plastic pots are practical. The earth in them doesn’t dry out.

Clay pots have to be tended.

I love clay pots.

All my plants live in clay pots until they are ready to go in the garden. (Except if I run out of them - then I use plastic ones instead.)

Ming keeps saying how much he would like to introduce me to his parents - but Mars is so far away and my need for oxygen and a temperate climate would probably make the journey hazardous - so I’m not committing myself just yet.

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