Thursday, August 29, 2013


Have you ever had a plant in your garden that your wife hates and won’t die?  I have one of those in my garden.  Here is what it looks like.

Sweet Tomato hates it and has hinted strongly on multiple occasions that she would like to see that ugly excuse for a plant taken out and relegated to kindling.  A strong hint in our house is just above an eye roll, but not as bad as the ‘glare’.  If a ‘glare’ is held long enough it can burn a whole clean through you.   My take on the Knarly Sagetorus is that it is kind of like a really old pair of boots or an old t-shirt.  Each of them has been around a long time, they are useful, and I am comfortable with them.  Sweet Tomato doesn’t like my old boots or t-shirts either.

You are probably wondering at this point why I refer to this plant as a Knarly Sagetorus.  I came across this old book at a garage sale many years ago.  It did not have a publishing date, but it looked older than me, and that is old.  It was something of a cross between a farmer’s almanac and a book of folk tales.  It even had a very strange story about a briar patch, a rabbit and a tar baby.  I don’t think the story would be much appreciated today, but I found it hilarious.  Also in this book was a description of the Knarly Sagetorus accompanied by a water color painting of the plant.  While the artist had attempted to depict the plant truthfully, it was still ugly as a three tooth witch after falling off her broom.  I never thought much of it until the sage plant I have in my garden had reached an age of somewhere north of a score of years.  That was when I went looking for that old book again to check the description and painting against the sage in my garden.  Sure enough, the painting and description matched my sage to a T. 

At the bottom of the page was a written description of the Knarly Sagetorus  and what looked like a warning or a curse if you believe in such things.  It went like this:


Rare specimen of the sage family of the genus Salvia L. of the species Salvia knarly, no variety or sub species.  Not indigenous to any particular region, but able to survive long cold winters and hot dry summers.  Identified by its signature ‘knarly’ trunk and bark.  Also known and identified by extreme age and ugliness.  Legend says that anyone cutting down a Knarly Sagetorus will be inflicted with toenail fungus until the end of their days.

I have been able to find references to the Knarly Sagetorus in the famous online resource Zippipedia, but they referred to it as ‘Gnarly Sagetorus’ and there was no mention of the legend about cutting it down.  I am not an unusually superstitious person, but ugly as it is and even if it is disliked by Sweet Tomato, I intend to leave it alone.

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