Monday, 2 August 2010

Mint - Blessing or Bane in the Garden?

Mint. The very word can make a gardener shudder at the thought of it running rampant through the garden, which it will indeed do when left to it's own devices. But, I'm here to play devil's advocate. Mainly because when we bought our house, the garden was a disaster, and one of the only few things growing in the garden was Mint, along with some gladiolas, and some Japanese spurge.
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So, I decided to embrace the mint since we all know the fight can be a futile one. Once established, it's pretty hard, if not impossible to get rid of. So, if you are thinking of planting this herb in the garden, and don't want it to take over, then I'd suggest growing it in a container, where it can be kept on it's own.
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However, since I didn't have the luxury of a choice to grow it, I've found that Mint can indeed be kept in line, mainly by digging some of it out and trimming it back before it goes to seed. I say I've embraced it because it is one of the most useful herbs in cooking! Great on new potatoes, as a pesto, and of course, in a Mint Julep, (perhaps to be enjoyed best on a verandah!)
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The variety I'm growing is Lemon Mint, (Lemon Balm, or Melissa officinalis, and not to be confused with Bee Balm).
I harvest it and hang it to dry in bundles where it keeps it's very lovely scent.
It's great for use in Pot Pourri, apparently makes a delicious tea, and is considered to be a popular antiseptic!
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So, don't beat yourself up if it's in your garden. Use it and embrace it because what's the point of getting bent out of shape over a plant! Like they say, "If you can't beat it, join it!"
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Happy Gardening!
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5 comments:

Ginny said...

I grow spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm - I'm sure many think I'm foolish. But I haven't had much trouble with keeping it under control because it pulls up pretty easily and I keep it cut back. I use a lot of it for tea, mint juleps, mojitos, salads, and as filler in vases of flowers. To me mint is a blessing!

Bernadette said...

I grow mine in a pot on my deck. A never-ending supply for our mojitos, and delicious in fresh iced tea!

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

I too inherited mint with my house. I've hand pulled much of it out of a bed and keep on top of it whenever it comes up; I agree, it pulls up easily. It's much easier to manage than Bishop's/ragweed.

But, I do have a large patch in a small bed next to my front door where it's entirely contained. I like it there, even. I was reading once how mint was planted by the entrances to farm houses. Whenever company was coming, they would go and beat the mint with a broom to make it release its smell. I suspect the farm wasn't too fantastic smelling, and it helped cover some things up.

The Mindful Merchant said...

I grow mint in a container - I love cooking with it. Lemon balm sounds wonderful too...

Wall Flower Studio said...

Wonderful comments! Thank you everyone! I'm so happy to see I'm not the only one to embrace mint!

~ Ginny, I'm inspired by you, and don't think that's foolish at all. What an excellent idea to use mint in arrangements. Never thought of that and going to try it for sure! I agree that it's a blessing. Thank you : )

~ Bernadette, that's an excellent idea, too! In iced teas. Yummy! I'm going google and try to make some this weekend for sure. And how handy is that to grow it right on your deck, so readily available to pick!

~ Susan, I agree wholeheartedly. It's not really that difficult to manage. A bit of perserverence is all. And I really enjoyed what you wrote about releasing the scent of mint. These historic bit's of information are always fascinating to me, and likely better for the environment than using man-made chemicals to cover up household smells. Excellent!

~ Laura, that's just great! It's such a useful herb, isn't it? Great to cook with for sure! The recipe link I posted here is something I'm going to try. Mmmm, mint with new potates. Thanks for commenting!