This is the time of year the volunteers arrive at Petraia. Sometimes they are welcome, sometimes not. It depends how useful they are. Take this celery plant for instance. Celery is a vegetable we use every day. But it is a tough one to grow and when it does it is slow and stubborn. The tradeoff is it’s interesting licorice flavor and neon green colour that makes celery one of our standout vegetables, a far cry from the pale and tasteless stalks one finds everywhere these days.
This young volunteer is the most healthy looking celery I’ve ever seen growing at Petraia. It has planted itself, literally, between a rock and a hard place (Petraia doesn’t mean “place of stone” for nothing) yet it is growing like the weed it is. While noone has ever watered it, living as it does right under a garden tap I’m sure its had the odd free drink. And it has thoughtfully put its roots down just outside my kitchen door.
We often come out here in the evening to watch the sunset. “I see your celery is doing well” Michael joked tonight as he sat down with a glass of wine and a plate of grilled wild boar ribs. Yes, it is I thought. It is just perfect. This particular volunteer will be very useful indeed. Thank you La Petraia, and the summer breeze that carried this tiny, determined seed right to my doorstep.