Mint is one of the common herbs, I knew there was a difference between peppermint and spearmint because that’s two of the flavours sweets come in. My first experience of growing herbs started with the more common varieties, then added plants such as Rue, Southern Wormwood etc. I was really quite surprised at the variety within many of the species. I had a fairly large garden at my last house so had plenty of room to expand my collection.
The soil was neutral and nothing much grew in it except kale, leeks, blackcurrant and gooseberry shrubs and for some reason, the herbs seemed quite happy. I knew mint to be quite invasive and had many warnings about planting it direct in the garden so it was reduced to the confines of a pot. I’ve had it for many years and seems to have resigned to life in it’s own little prison.
Holidaying in Tunisia some years ago, introduced me to Moroccan Mint tea, so that’s another ‘must have’ mint. Besides being useful in cooking and mojitos, it’s no wonder bees and insects like it.
Chocolate Mint. This is an ideal mint for cakes and desserts and teams nicely with chocolate, and is another favourite of bees and insects.
Korean Liquorice Mint, as the name suggests, it has a minty liquorice taste which is nice, chopped up on salads or as a tea. What bee or insect could ignore the beautiful flower of this mint?
Spearmint, an all-time favourite, not surprisingly has many benefits other than flavouring, and like other mints, it relieves colic and aids digestion. It’s bad news for rats and mice, they don’t like it but luckily enough bees and insects do and I’ve never heard of a bee with colic.
The lost loves in Greek mythology of course have a tale to tell about the origins of this popular herb. Between treating ancient Roman ailments and used in funerary rites of the Greeks we need to sail down the mythical river of Cocytus to find Minthe, the river nymph. There’s nothing worse than a woman’s wrath when it comes to another female trying to seduce her husband, so Persephone reduced Minthe to a plant, to be trodden on for eternity. Hades’ love for Minthe tried to undo the curse of his queen but could not, so gave her a sweet-smelling aroma instead. Perhaps it’s Hades’ revenge on Persephone which makes mint a favourite, after all you never hear of Persephone but blend mint with alcohol whether it’s a mojito, crème de menthe or a mint julep etc., it could mean this is one seductress who is still having a ball.
I’ve lost some of the mints along the way, partly due to moving house and having to leave them behind. However, I still have a few to remind me of Minthe’s anguish as I sip Moroccan tea, or indulge in a minty confection.
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