The Sadness of Claus

In the above picture, you see from left to right…

  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – This is his third best work in my opinion, while Kafka on the Shore is his finest.
  • A pair of glasses – Which make reading Murakami, or anything, much easier.
  • A painting of some houses – It’s not great, it’s probably by someone Danish, we don’t love it but it injects some colour.
  • Cocoa nibs – Like chocolate but also like a ‘superfood’, what could be better than that?
  • Bowl with fruit cubes – I don’t know where the bowl is from, the fruit cubes are from the supermarket, they are fruit, they are cubes.

and then, over there on the right, you have…


Claus is a basil plant and he is not very happy with the world.

He is not very happy with the world because we plucked him from a shop where he was obviously well cared for and bushy and healthy, and we plunged him into a new world where the two people he lives with are clearly not very capable of taking care of his needs. He is either too thirsty or has too much water, either in too bright sun or left in the deep shade, and he is suffering.

His leaves are droopy, his beautiful scent is weaker than it was before and he is just generally looking a bit glum.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to offer a public apology.

We are sorry Claus, we will try to take better care of you and to make you happier. Partially because you look so sad and partially because we want to eat you, we want to rip off your leaves, tear them into pieces and munch on them. That may sound more like a threat than an apology but really it isn’t, harvesting your leaves on a regular basis actually keeps you healthier and helps you grow.

Also, we wouldn’t eat you if we didn’t like you very much, your aroma oozes summer and you taste divine. Actually all of that also sounds strange. Umm… maybe I should just stop now.

Anyway, we will do better!

To be able to do that I have done a little bit of research and I am going to share the results with everyone else who might not be a fantastic gardener and who might also be wondering just what they have to do to stop their own leafy friend from looking and feeling so sorrowful.

The thing is that keeping a basil plant alive should be simple and easy, you should just stick it somewhere that is not too cold and give it some water from time to time, right?

Actually it apparently is really very simple, so I am not sure how we are managing to screw it up, here are what seem to be the golden rules:

  • Basil plants needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. If you are growing indoors then stand them on the brightest sunniest windowsill that you have and turn them around slightly every few days so that they get even sun.
  • Basil does not like to be cold. It doesn’t really like to be colder than about 20°C (70°F) so keep it out of cold breezes if you can.
  • Basil likes to be watered often, but not too much. Give them water when the soil feels dry to the touch and water from the base, not soaking all the leaves.
  • Prune and harvest regularly, it is good for them, but never remove more than one third of all the leaves at any one time.

So, now we know everything, let’s see if we can keep Claus happy, and if you have any more important tips that I am missing then please do let me know!