Portulaca Oleracea, also known as purslane, common purslane, pigweed, and -- my new favorite -- “pursley” is very happy in hot, humid climates. In fact, it will grow just about anywhere. Flowers, leaves, and stems of this easy-going, flowering plant are edible and highly nutritious. What’s not to love, right? It will grow in your hair if you give it a chance --that’s what’s not to love. It’s invasive. I didn’t plant any of it in the photo above. I didn’t even plant it in that raised bed. I planted it nearby, in the ground. Because I like it and I can if I want to.
I’m not sorry I did, either. I even moved some today, to a raised bed on our back patio. It will have to contend with mint and lots of shade. We’ll see what happens.
I love the flowers and we love adding it-- especially the succulent leaves -- to salads. It has a nice, mild flavor and texture and just makes a salad prettier by its presence. Purslane is good for us, too. It's high in vitamins A and C and it's rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. It’s also a good source of alpha-linoleic acid.
I’m not going to not plant it, just as I will not stop planting mint. But I’ll have to be vigilant.
Do you feel that you're getting mixed signals from me? Well, some things are worth mentioning, like the growing in your hair possibility. But I recommend planting this lovely edible in your garden. You might never have to buy it again.
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes. Even then, it’s often not necessary to engage.
As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.