Post last updated: October 10th, 2018
Linda Cunningham wanted to compare one of my plants to hers because mine had a different name. So I took some cuttings which I put in a bucket of water to keep them from melting before I could get to her house. I belted the bucket into the front seat beside me to avoid any unwanted adventures on the way over there. I should have known it was impossible to avoid an adventure. Before I could even crank the car, a green grasshopper flew out of the cuttings and landed on my steering wheel giving me one of those beady-eyed insect looks. I was so startled, I screamed. I couldn’t help it, okay? Thankfully, Poppie got into a bad batch of hearing aid batteries. He was sitting on his back porch right by the garage and it would have been embarrassing if he had come to my aid over a grasshopper.
I pulled a map of Atlanta from the crack next to the seat and whacked him out of the car with enough force to cannonball him into the next county if the garage hadn’t been there to stop him.
At Cunningham’s, I watched with fascinated awe at the level of her courage compared to mine. Whenever she encountered one of those monstrous Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers, she picked it off the plant with her bare hands and called her dog, Milo.
Milo would come running and promptly dispatch the grasshopper with two shakes of his head and a toothy crunch to its neck. First time I have ever thought about getting a dog.
African Blue Basil has been on my “want list” ever since I saw it at a Duval County Extension Agent class 3 or 4 years ago. It is a sterile (does not produce seeds) perennial basil with a strong camphor scent but that didn’t bother me. I wanted it for its non-food properties — it blooms profusely with very tall flower spikes that attract all kinds of bees and other pollinators. African Blue Basil probably needs staking unless you aggressively pinch or cut it back. It tends to flop all over and part in the middle.
It’s inability to produce seeds is probably why it’s hard to find but I finally got some. Tell everyone! Linda Cunningham has African Blue Basil! Don’t forget that Cunningham’s is open year round by appointment. You can get her phone number and directions here.
Late breaking news: Linda Cunningham informed me today that Milo’s annihilation of grasshoppers is over. She took him to the vet and learned his inflamed mouth is caused by the toxic juice grasshoppers give off. Milo’s grasshopper vet bill exceeded the others, too. Short-lived occupation as a Grasshopper Dispatcher.