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Mint - One Of The Largest Herb Families

The Mint family is one of the largest herb groups. The plant produces not only a variety of different flavors, but also a wonderful aroma. It is adaptable to most soil conditions and will thrive in moisture. This plant will do well in full sun or partial shade.

The plant actually dates back to Greek Mythology. It grew in open fields in Greece. People walked over this plant time and time again and from that point on this plant proved its resiliency. Today, people plant this herb and mow over it with no harm to the plant. Planters, banks, hillsides, berms and just about any possible landscape area can be used to plant this popular herb.

Mint

Mint varies in size but the average height runs anywhere from one and a half to three feet tall. Peppermint and Spearmint are two of the most popular varieties. They are grown commercially from southern California to Nova Scotia and as far south as Florida. Europe grows a vast amount of this plant. In India, it still is used to scent different rooms.

The leaves are soft natured and stalks of pink, white and lavender flowers appear during the warmer months. This herb germinates slow from seed, but can be cultivated by taking the runners of the roots and dividing them. Set them in the ground where they will receive good moisture.

Mint also has a tendency to spread and can choke out other plants as well as its own family members. We have grown several different varieties and had one garden using this herb as an accent. Within a couple of years it was taking over the evergreen shrubs. It self spreads very rapidly so it is best to keep trimmed unless you are growing a large quantity.

With a large space, plant a variety of herbs. Your defined bed will be lush, and ready to use at harvest time. Herbee and I recommend a good size area if you are going to put this herb in the ground, or putting a few plants in containers or planters. Each plant has it's own characteristic.

This herb can be picked any time during the summer. Picking the plant back several times will help control the herb. You can dry it in bunches by hanging upside down. This process also helps with preserving the juices. It can also be frozen in plastic bags. The fresh leaves provide the most flavor.


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Kentucky Mint Julep

This is the famous Kentucky Mint Julep. Ask anyone that likes bourbon, if they don't enjoy this drink. Brighten up your summer parties with the mint julep. This drink will warm your insides on a cold winter day as well. Great combination of different herbs. Use year around and enjoy.

Mint Julep is made with sugar, water, crushed ice and Bourbon. Kentucky Bourbon is a favorite to many in the south. This herb is used in candies and in sauces.


A Few Different Mint Varieties

  • Corsican - only grows to one and a half to two inches in height. One of the smallest of this family. The leaves are bright green and very small. You can see this specie often in open notches in the trunk of trees. In mid summer delicate purple tone flowers appear. This mint has a great smell.

  • Water - long thin branches of round leaves with purple flowers in the latter part of the hot summer months. Mint will mature to two feet and is a wonderful specimen around rocks in a pond area. The plant will also spread easily.

  • Field or Corn - grows to about two feet tall and has red toned hairy looking branches. The leaves are shaped round and oblong. Soft lavender flowers arrive in mid to late summer. This specie is widely adaptable to many geographic locations.

  • Golden - is low growing and will spread up to a foot tall. We love this member as its variegated leaves of green and yellow add a unique look to a garden. It has a sweeter and more fruity flavor than most mint, and produces purple flowers during the warm summer months.

  • Orange Bergamot - has red tones in its branches and around the edge of the leaves. It reaches two feet high with purple toned flowers. This variety has a strong citrus flavor and is also very fragrant.

  • Curly - is a very fast grower and will spread up to two feet. The leaves are curly and have a dull green tone to them. This is a great ground cover and will work well along a natural pathway. Great specimen to fill in empty spaces in a berm or hillside. Has light colored purple flowers appearing in mid summer.

  • Pennyroyal - is one of the best creeping plants of any specie. It only grows six to twelve inches high. The leaves are about an inch in length and have a dark shiny green color. The leaves produce a very strong flavor and should only be used in small amounts.

  • Apple or Woolly - matures to two feet tall and has a white to gray hairy appearance on all the leaves and branches. The flowers have pink, white and purple tones. Looking at the name, you may have guessed this specie produces a delicious apple flavor. In middle eastern countries it is used in lamb dishes. This is a great plant for a rocky or rugged area.

This is just a handful of simple descriptions of all the different species of this herb family. It's definitely one of the largest herb families and produces some of the best aroma and flavor throughout throughout the world.


Herbee Shares The Peppermint Pig From Saratoga Springs, New York

Herbee Greenthumb

Herbee and I would like to share with you the peppermint pig, and how it has been special to different generations of my family.

In the 1880's in the Victorian village of Saratoga Springs, New York, candy makers were creating candy for their town holiday season. The legend states the pink candy pig was born at this time and distributed to households in the village.

A small pouch was put over the candy pig and a little hammer was given. Each member of the family had a chance to break the pig and reflect on a good fortune of the past year. When the last family member was done, the wonderful flavor of the peppermint was enjoyed, with hope of great prosperity for the following year.

Our family is spread out all over the United States, and each year one is sent to the south for us to enjoy.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Botanical Names For Some Herbs, Including Mint --- Healing Herbs

Teas Made From Herbs --- Herb Garden Plans



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