Sweet Annie ( Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood) is classed as a weed that grows in profusion in positively horrid soil almost everywhere. Except my side yard. I so enjoy its lacey growth, about four feet high and three feet around in the shape of a Christmas tree. When the wind moves through the frail leaves the fragrance is a heady and almost intoxicating scent that saturates my little garden. Often through the summer I clip fronds from its rampant growth to later rub over the car seats to fill that otherwise stuffy space with what I enjoy as a fresh and luscious scent.
Every spring I get into a low squat, some people call it a duck waddle, to better see the tiny leaves atop a red stems that are infant Sweet Annies. A few years ago, there were four hardy and full plants. Another long ago years I had the joy of seven vigorous and lush Sweet Annie plants. Last year there was only one plant. That one I guarded and nurtured all summer After making potpourri and saving enough for several cups of tea I harvested a few seeds for use this growing season.
Not a one came to life! So, the vivid lime green that contrasted against black soil revealing the two and half babies that grew, made me stand upright and do a happy dance.
Then the reality of their place struck me. Right in the fence amidst the wired diamonds, on a course certain to be soaked by the ‘plant hater’ neighbor’s careless and over abundant use of weed killers!
Trowel in leather gloved hand, with hat on head I began the tedious task of separating my beloveds from the other roots of other unwanted weeds. I looked for a place of similar soil structure, light and shelter. Finding a couple, I placed the red and green jewels in little holes made by the trowel’s handle. Then I said a little prayer that their special angel, also known to me as a plant Deva, would take care of them.
All the gardening efforts I’ve made in the last few decades has been influenced by the wisdom written about in
The Magic of Findhorn by Paul Hawken, published by Harper and Row Publishers in 1975 and the website Findhorn Ecovillage.
Also, I vaguely remember watching a story about Findhorn done by 60 minutes in the late sixties or the early seventies. In that segment they talked about things like talking to your plants. So, I gave it a try. A few months later I read another book that was to be greatly influential in any relationship I have with plants: The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird published in 1973.