of the Week for 19th September
By Lynn Kirkland
Spring is clearly on the way as the winter dormant mints come leaping out
the ground with renewed vigour. Well rested after their winter sleep they
are eager to get up and grow and we can start enjoying them in many ways.
The dark coloured mint with the purple stems is my favourite mint. This is the one in the foreground of the photo. It is Japanese Menthol Mint and is the source of true menthol.
Years ago I distilled this variety and was amazed to see crystals form on the condensed water and even now ten years later the fragrance of this herb in distilled form is still strong.
If you have a sore throat then eating the menthol leaves is very soothing and healing.
It makes a lovely tasting tea and is gorgeous as after dinner mints when the leaves are coated in melted chocolate.
Chopped up leaves add a zing to a fruit salad.
If you have a stuffed up nose then inhaling the fragrance from a crushed leaf sends those sinuses to Arizona.
The other mints are spearmint and peppermint and both of these make delicious teas which are delicious after a meal and are especially good to soothe an upset tummy.
Mints spread by runners and now is a great time to pull up any that are creeping into the part of the garden that you have reserved for something else.
Plant the little surplus ones around fruit trees where they will be great companions and the excess growth will be kept in check with the lawn mower.
The person mowing will get a lovely aromatherapy experience as they work.
Garden books usually suggest containing your mints by planting them in tubs or trying to create a barrier in the garden.
They are far too wily to be kept in check with a barrier and I find that they are never as healthy in a pot as in the ground.
They are a delight to grow and there are so many varieties to choose from which have many uses beyond just the common mint for mint sauce.