I'm not sure how it happened, exactly. With one thing and another, I ended up with well over 300 cloves of garlic, from seven different varieties, to plant this year. It's been an unusually mild fall, as our spring was unusually early and warm. Climate change? Perhaps. In any case a late garlic planting. It took me a lot longer of course to plant these 300-odd cloves than it does to get in my usual crop of around a hundred cloves. More time for woolgathering in the garden.
I felt like Cadmus. You know, the mythical Greek hero and founder of the city of Thebes. He had rather a detailed history, with the usual Greek peregrinations, interferences from the gods, and a generous share of the misfortune that generally attends those mortals who attract their attentions. Not that I felt unfortunate; not in the least. It was a beautiful day in the garden, and the rich soil made me feel rich as well. What resonated from Cadmus' story was the occasion of him sowing the teeth of a dragon he'd slain. The teeth then sprouted and grew into an army of bloodthirsty soldiers, who attacked one another immediately.
Garlic cloves look somewhat like teeth. In Russian the word used for a garlic "clove" is in fact exactly the word for tooth. And if the fiery heat of garlic can be ascribed to any mythical creature, it seems only fitting that it belong to the dragon. A garlic dragon. So there I was sowing my dragon's teeth, and imagining the trim ranks of slender soldiers that would spring up in that place after the winter snows have passed. My green soldiers will not fall violently upon one another until only five remain alive. They will however betray their military bearing by the lances they wield. I will disarm them all, and turn the scapes to peaceful culinary purposes.
Three hundred-odd heads of garlic next year...! The dehydrator notwithstanding, I may have to find a market for them.
Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Sundials
10 hours ago