A hand of ginger, a murder of crows, a clowder of cats. Fantastically odd sounding names for groups of ordinary things… charming! Today I planted some of those “ginger hands”.
Ginger is marvellous for digestion, can ease asthma symptoms and also fights colds. It makes a lovely fragrant tea and has lots of different culinary uses (adding a slice to your vegetables as they steam is awfully nice).
Ginger is very easy to grow as a houseplant. Simply bury the rhizomes an inch or so deep in a container of good potting mix and set the container in a bright but not sunny window. A pretty, grassy plant will sprout that leads to a crop of ginger rhizomes. When the leaves of a ginger plant begin to go dormant it is ready to harvest – split off a section and rinse the resulting rhizomes and… voilà! you have fresh new ginger hands (replant a few and you will have a continuing supply!). Very nice.
Once upon a time I used to plant trees. Planting trees on the West Coast is a serious endeavour. I carried bags of baby trees up mountains and planted them one by one on amazingly beautiful hillsides, by rollicking rivers and through mist filled valleys (all very beautiful even after clear-cutting).
I worked with a crew of planters that consisted of a fantastically bizarre mix of people – planting lifers, university students, assorted versions of hippies, and even a few former loggers. We all had to get up at four in the morning. It was cold and the weather fairy treated us to buckets of rain (ten hours out in the rain, all day, every day). Bags full of trees are very heavy, and the beautiful mountainsides are very steep and very covered with hard to penetrate brush. Then there were the buried wasp nests, the helicopter-sized mozzies, and the curious bears!
Tree-planting. Hard graft indeed. I was a rubbish tree-planter (too slow and methodical) yet somehow I remember it all as a grand adventure.
During one of these tree-planting trips I learned to identify the wild ginger plants that grow along the forest edges. A few rhizomes were removed to my little Island garden and they were very nice indeed.