the first is an indian herb named asafoetida. and they were right... that business does smell like it's ready to fight. alternate names include devil's dung and stinking gum, to give you an idea. they tell you to lock it up with your children in order to contain its contagious stink.
now, why would i buy something alternately called devil's dung which is meant to go into my mouth, you ask? the claim is that once cooked, it magically turns into a heavenly garlicky onion analog that is seemingly scraped from rainbows by horn of unicorn. it says it on the label. and that's for me. so far, i've only consumed it as part of a packaged indian dining experience.
the second offender in my possession is ruta. we purchased it as a plantling at the farmers market last sunday from behind a sign declaring "rue/ruta/ruda" based solely on the loveliness of its delicate leaves. the vendor looked at me with question marks in his eyes and on his shrugging shoulders when i asked him what on earth it is and i took this to mean he probably spoke no english and i gave him $2.50 from brian's ass pocket (he was busy holding the parsley and rosemary pots) and left it at that. brian planted everything promptly after i informed him we had plenty of pots open for rent... don't be fooled, those are just weeds growing there. i think we're already on our way to killing the parsley; and, a large succulent which survived last summer and the winter indoors is already looking poorly after four days outside, such is the nature of our withering heat, which has arrived just this week.
note: ours is prettier. i suppose it shall lose its flower of youth as it matures, the poor dear.
oh, wait. this one is still in its glorious, leafy prime: