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Growing on the High Plains: Patchouli

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Travel with me to Pratt, KS today as I take a springtime stroll through a parking lot plant sale, scoring a scent-heavy potted pal that takes me back to my time among the flower children.

Travel with me to Pratt, KS today as I take a springtime stroll through a parking lot plant sale, scoring a scent-heavy potted pal that takes me back to my time among the flower children. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about patchouli. Most associated with aromatherapy and a staple hippe perfume, this drought-resistant plant was originally native to Asia, though it often also features in lore from ancient Egypt. The spicy, heady odor has been a welcome presence in our home, though I struggled at first to strike the right balance of light, heat, and location so the little plant could thrive. Each sniff of the patchouli plant transports me back to San Francisco in the 60s, when all was music, peace and love.

Years ago Skip Mancini left the rocky coast of Northern California to return to her roots in the heartland. Her San Francisco friends, concerned over her decision to live in a desolate flatland best known for a Hollywood tornado, were afraid she would wither and die on the vine. With pioneer spirit, Skip planted a garden. She began to learn about growing not only flowers and vegetables, but hearts and minds. If you agree that the prairie is a special place, we think you'll enjoy her weekly sojourns into Growing on the High Plains.