Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spearmint

spearmint

My favorite summertime drink is sun tea with spearmint. I've been growing mint in my garden for at least 20 years in different houses. Every time I move I just dig up a bunch and dump it in a pot and put it in the truck. When we get to the new place I just dig a quick hole in a sunny spot near the back of the garden and dump it in. It always thrives and takes over a large area.

In this garden, when we moved here eight years ago, I put it near the fence a couple steps from the back door. I also started some honeysuckle on that fence to screen out the neighboring apartment house parking lot, and sooner or later some English Ivy found the same fence. The lesson for me: beware starting honeysuckle! It's a weed even stronger than mint.

Because my side of the fence is the shady side the mint moved itself to the sunny side, away from me. It migrated right through the fence and was thriving along the parking lot edge until the honeysuckle completely took over.

The mint I used to have in my yard I now have to walk around the fence to pick from the edge of the parking lot, and this year it is getting harder to find. I dug up some roots and replanted them on my side of the fence in a new spot. I hope they take over this new corner because I make tea almost every day and I need my mint.

mint sun tea

According to the Book of Mint, by Jackie French, the Romans believed that eating mint would increase intelligence. She says, "recent research at the University of Cincinnati in the United States has indicated that sniffing mint may improve your concentration; and several large Japanese companies pipe minute amounts of mint oil through the air-conditioning systems to invigorate workers and increase productivity." I just like to drink it on a hot afternoon when I am not planning on doing much at all. It's very relaxing.

Here's what other bloggers are posting about gardens:

writer2b has photos of her veggie garden. I am envious of her peppers and cucs!

Lisa has lovely photos of wildflowers in Ontario. Gorgeous!

Becky shows us her lilacs and shares a dream of building a house in the midst of them.

Charlotte shares more photos of her roses, clematis and delphinium.

Sheila has shared some wonderful garden strategies, including growing lettuce in window boxes. Her strawberries look delicious dipped in chocolate!

Alkelda has delightful photos of her gardens and shares what delicious greens her daughter is discovering.

gawdess posted a charming photo of a peaceful corner of a friend's garden, featuring a bird bath surrounded by shade plants.

What's growing in your garden this week? It's not too late to put a link to your garden blog post in Mr. Linky below and be sure to leave us a comment. We'd love to come visit!


10 comments:

writer2b said...

We had some mint growing by our back door when we first moved here, but I'm not sure what happened to it. Not being a tea-drinker, I wasn't sure what to do with it. I didn't know it would make me smarter! Sheesh. :-)

Lovely photos, as always.

Gawdess said...

well if this isn't a useful post for me right now, I bought two mint plants and have been thinking about exactly where to put it and I think I have a spot in mind now and a use for it too!

Becky said...

I have some vigorous mint too, but I could drink tea all day and still never make a dent in it! Loved the photo of the tea steeping.

What is also *almost* a weed for me is catmint, a cousin of catnip. We're too far north for lavender, so catmint is the closest thing in terms of look and color (though sadly not smell, which isn't bad but just not lavender-y). Best of all, the bees just love the stuff, and I feel as though I'm doing my part to save the bees by letting the stuff grow wherever it spreads.

Charlotte said...

I am afraid of bringing mint home. I know what it can do. And I'm not a tea drinker. But I do have a mint cousin, anise hyssop, that provides great entertainment bee-wise, like Becky's catmint. I was just reading about it, and although it says nothing about increasing brain power, it does say it's tasty in salads...I'd be happy to pass some on to any of you all if you are ever up/down my way, because it is, um, an enthusiastic reproducer. But not as much so as mint!

Cloudscome said...

funny, I was just over my parents house and admired their herb garden. They have cat mint, thyme and lavender on the sunny side of the house and it is all in bloom and quite lovely. I've tried cat mint here before but it didn't take off.

What I have too much of is lemon balm. I don't care for the taste and the scent is too strong for me. It has taken over the back of the garden where I wanted the mint to grow.

gawdess, you might put it in a partly shady spot. The book says it likes partial sun and damp. Jackie French even recommends sinking a large pot or tub into the ground and planting in that to keep it from sending out runners and taking over.

alotalot said...

I don't use my mint, but have it planted in a spot where it will be run over by the lawnmower frequently. It makes mowing the lawn "kind of" relaxing. It is a pleasant surprise.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

I had to post this quickly! I've been making what we call "meadow tea" as of late with mint and lemon balm.

sheila said...

Oh, I could never have too much mint. I love it. I've got a few different kinds (orange, pepper, spear, and one called salad mint) but spearmint is my fave. We like it with cheddar and apples in sandwiches, chopped fine in tabouli, rolled up in rice paper wrappers, and sprinkled into a salad. I even gave it its own garden.

I'm with you on the lemon balm, too. But lemon verbena, now, mmmmm. I posted a recipe for lemon verbena sorbet that will knock those socks right off your feet. It's from the fellow who used to work at the Herbfarm in Seattle. He pairs it with lavender shortbread.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Oh one more thing about mint--it's helpful to plant it in a spot that doesn't drain well. I've planted it near a downspout and I'm hoping that the root system takes effect where it helps prevent the inevitable basement leakage here in Seattle. (Keeping gutters clean is good, too, yes-- may the mint give it an edge, though.)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Thanks for inviting me to your garden tour. I have been posting a lot about the garden.

We don't have mint but my son is the herb gardener extraordinaire. He has lemon thyme, basil, oregano, chives, and something else I can't think of at the moment.

Maybe we will need to add some mint.

Everyone's gardens are lovely.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom