Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mystery Mint

More often than not my enthusiasm for a particular plant falls on deaf ears. I discovered this variety of mint growing amongst weeds on an abandoned community garden plot. The leaves are round and very furry and in summer the creeping stems and leaves have a white bloom on them. The smell from the crushed leaves is clean and sweet without that trace of rankness which often is present in common garden mint. So now I am growing it as my preferred variety, but putting a correct name on it is all but impossible. Even the experts say mints are hard to identify correctly and often new hybrids emerge when different sorts are grown close by each other. 
Herbs books will always say to plant mint with caution as it is likely to take over the entire garden. Not true in my experience. I would love to have a three metre square patch of mint actually. Imagine how nice it would be to lay on during a hot summer day. When using it in the kitchen I think only the top four leaves are the best part to use as these are soft and have the most flavour. No tough stems to deal with.
In mild climates mint is at its best right now, while in cooler regions it has probably gone underground, silently spreading its long thick stems in all directions to re-emerge far from where it was planted originally. Like all so called invasive garden plants you can afford to be a bit rough in your maintenance of it . Rip up runners, mow it down ,curse and swear at it but all in vain as it will return with vigour in a most rewarding way.

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