Maggie stood on a chair at
the kitchen sink filling the watering jug up. The chair wobbled a bit as
it wasnít very sturdy. When she finished, she climbed down carefully and
put the jug on the table. "Gran. Iím ready to water my seeds," she called.
Gran was down in the pantry
looking for a jar of gooseberry jam. "Iíll be right up," she called.
Maggie walked over to the
six-foot long planter box and looked to see if anything was growing yet.
It had been a week since she and Gran had planted the tiny seeds. She
could hear Granís footsteps coming upstairs. Gran wiped the dust off with
her apron and set the jar on the table. "Anything growing yet?" she asked
Maggie strained to see.
"When they grow a bit and
are healthy, weíll take them outside and plant them in the garden. Itís a
wee bit cold for herbs right now," Gran said.
"I canít wait to see them
grow. Iíve never tasted chives before. Have I Gran?" Maggie asked.
"Yes, but you didnít know
it. Letís see," she said, walking over to the planter box. "Soon weíll
have chives, bay leaves, caraway, sage, rosemary, tarragon, and parsley
growing. Letís go out into the garden right now and Iíll show you last
yearís herbs and where weíll plant these ones. Letís water them first."
She helped Maggie with the watering jug and then said, "Follow me, lass."
Maggie went outside, right
behind her gran. They went into the back garden. Near the house grew some
mint. The leaves were dark green. When she bent down to sniff them, she
smelled the strong odor. "What do we use mint for, Gran?" she asked.
"It smells nice, doesnít
it? We use mint when I make lamb or mutton. When it is mixed with vinegar,
it makes a lovely sauce. Do you remember the last time we had lamb? You
loved it and poured the mint sauce all over it," Gran reminded her.
"Oh yes, Gran. That was
lovely," Maggie recalled.
"Over here we have shallots
growing. They wonít be ready until summer," Gran said.
"What are shallots?" Maggie
"Theyíre like onions. Your
grandpa loves shallots, leeks, and onions too. Hopefully this year weíll
have a large crop," Gran wished.
They walked around the
garden. Gran pointed out the garlic, leeks, mustard and mace. She showed
her the rhubarb and told her when it was ready; sheíd make rhubarb pies.
Maggie smiled and licked her lips. She loved rhubarb pies.
"Hereís where your herbs
will go," Gran said, pointing to a square about six feet each way. "We
just have to be patient and wait for them to grow a while longer."
"Why do we have herbs, Gran?"
"Herbs flavor our food and
help with sickness. Did you know that mint is good for an upset stomach?
See the dandelions growing in the grass? Theyíre good for curing warts,"
"Warts? I donít have warts
and Iíll never pick up a toad," Maggie giggled.
"Daisies are good if you
have aches and pains, and wort is good if youíre upset about something.
All the herbs help us feel better and taste good," Gran told her.
Just then Grandpa came to
the back door and called for Gran. She left Maggie outside and went in.
Maggie walked through the plants; excited for hers to grow so she could
see them get this big.
The next morning Maggie got
up and ran into the kitchen to look at her planter box. She started to
squeal with delight when she saw little green stems shooting up through
the rich brown dirt. "Gran! Gran! Come and see. My herbs are growing!"
Gran came running through
to look. "Oh, thatís wonderful, lass. It wonít be long before we plant
them outside," she smiled and went back to her work.
Every day Maggie watched
them grow bigger and bigger. Finally the day came to plant them outside.
She and Gran worked hard, digging holes and putting a plant into every
hole. Each morning after that, Maggie had to water them. One of the things
she didnít like to do was to pull the weeds out, but it had to be done.
The summer passed quickly and soon Maggieís herb garden was at its
fullness. One night Grandpa came outside and stood next to Maggie as she
gazed at her herbs. "Isnít this wonderful, Grandpa? I grew my own herb
garden." She looked up at him and smiled. He put his arm around her
shoulder and gave her a little squeeze. Maggie was so proud. There were
enough herbs here to last through the whole winter.
As summer came to an end,
Gran had a big celebration dinner. It was going to be all the things
theyíd grown that year in their garden. Everything tasted so delicious.
Gran made lamb with mint sauce; she seasoned the meat with some of the
other herbs. They ate potatoes dug from the garden, carrots sprinkled with
Maggieís parsley, and the best thing they had was Granís rhubarb pie. It
was a delicious feast.
As the first snow of winter
fell, Maggie already had plans to grow more herbs next spring.