I inherited the gardening gene from my mom’s side of the family. Back when Queens was still the country my maternal grandfather’s family grew vegetables there while the city grew up around them. My mom never really grew vegetables, but her flower arrangements won many a ribbon in the local garden club’s flower shows. She had a big herb garden in one corner of the backyard that was a little wild and overgrown. I spent a lot of time in that garden as a kid, picking big handfuls of spearmint and chives, and plucking honeysuckle flowers off the vines that grew along the back fence.
When I started planning my garden last spring, I knew I had to have an herb garden. I laid out a two-foot wide border along one side of the plot and planted chives, bee balm, borage, lemon balm, lamb’s ear, sage, thyme, marjoram, lovage, dill, chervil, parsley, and basil. There’s still quite a bit of room in the bed, so over the weekend I picked up a few more plants. Sunday morning I planted peppermint, pineapple mint, and ginger mint, all in a big pot so that they don’t take over the whole garden, as well as some garlic chives, lavender, and lemon verbena.
My parents moved to an apartment a few years ago and the old herb garden has no doubt been replaced with grass by the house’s new owners, but my mom is still gardening on their little balcony. When I talk to my mom on the phone we inevitably end up talking about kale, so for Mother’s Day I sent her a few packets of seeds. I don’t know how interested she really is in growing vegetables on her little balcony, but she’s going to humor me and give it a try.