Lost mothers’ day

So, mother’s day.  After weeks of junk mail piling up with visions of slippers and vacuum cleaners and bath products and stuff from the reject shop and the hardware store and the chemist and the newsagent, we made it to the day itself and the girls produced identical travel mugs from the school fundraiser, that I think perhaps even the reject shop might have rejected at some stage.  Two are blue and one is pink, and they all say “Mum is Love”, and the image includes tiny figures that might be ants, or perhaps a circle of dancing mothers, with the words “love” and “amore”.  You know, just in case.

This turned out to be the year that I finally confessed to finding mother’s day really difficult. Instead, we decided to make it a day for gardening: for planting and growing things.  I filled up the new vegetable patch with rocket and sorrel and beetroot, but also lemon bergamot and stevia, a thin and modest herb that turns out to have its own website.

Stevia’s leaves are indeed sugar sweet, and it has attracted the attention of the Food and Drug Administration in the US for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is its confrontation with aspartame as a non-calorific sweetener.  Tests have been done on hamsters and rats. I found it in the market, from the Canadian herb grower who pots up her own cuttings and sells them at prices that are as effective for her as they are for me. She’s knowledgeable, brisk, and businesslike, and she also sells Mexican tarragon, which is said to produce the same kind of after-effect images as peyote, and which I already have flowering in bright profusion along the fence.  Who knew?

And it turns out that the Australian government wants to ban plants like these that “are as dangerous as marijuana”, including the crazier salvias that make your skin feel like ivy is growing over it, and the wilder tarragons that you can smoke or drink in weak tea.

Happy mother’s day.

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