Here a Mint, There a Mint: good information

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Here a Mint, There a Mint

By Sharon
February 17, 2014

Everywhere a mint mint! With apologies to Old MacDonald, let's dig a little deeper into the invasive tactics of a delightful herb named Mentha.

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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Feb 16, 2014 7:46 PM CST
Sharon, I have never heard that story of Pluto and Menthe. Very nice. I will think of it every time I work with my mints.

This last year I was on a mint kick, trying to get all the flavors! I have peppermint, spearmint, orange mint, chocolate mint and pineapple mint. I still never found apple mint but I'll get it eventually.

I didn't realize I could use mint in my pantry. I had a real problem earlier this year that took three emptying of the pantry and pitching and scrubbing before I finally got rid of the cupboard moths! I did hang rosemary but heck, I have lots of mint I could have used.

I don't even know what goes into a mint julep but it sounds so refreshing!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 16, 2014 8:26 PM CST
Wow!! Arlene, so many mints you have. I had lemon mint for awhile but I think it got overrun by the two 'wild childs' because it hasn't been back. Pretty discouraging because I like my herbs close to my kitchen and that area seems to be possessed by the two that I have. I need to keep any new ones in pots, I think, because I'm never going to get to the end of the last existing root that's already there. But I love mint, even these wild ones, and use it so often for teas.

Glad you liked the love story, bet you remember it with every mint scent you sniff.

You can't mess around with mint juleps. They'll knock you for a loop. That's why I mostly only have them once a year! Smiling
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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Feb 16, 2014 8:46 PM CST
Ahhh, and I am not much of a drinker to begin with, so it doesn't take much! Hilarious!

I have lemon balm, is that considered lemon mint? I just read somewhere -- I think here at ATP just this week -- to plant some with my squash to keep the squash bugs away. I have a ton of it so I will be planting some in the garden. Along with nasturtiums and tansy and marigolds and all kinds of basil. I also use lemon balm in my cut flowers.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Feb 16, 2014 9:12 PM CST
Outstanding article!
I have some wild slightly hairy mint and would greatly appreciate the mint julep recipe to see if it could maybe help to improve the love balance in our relationship...please Smiling
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Feb 16, 2014 9:57 PM CST
Arlene, I don't think lemon balm is the same I'm thinking it is in the Melissa genus. Not sure about that because both are in the mint family. And to further confuse you, I've never used lemon balm. So what do I know?? Not much. I need to do a little sleuthing and find out.

MInt Juleps. Oh my. Are you very sure you want to take this conversation in that direction, DD? You better be very very sure because once you go down that road, you can't go back. You couldn't even find your way back if you wanted to.

And remember, only once a year, the first Saturday in May at approximately 5:30 EST but by May it will be EDT. But after one Mint Julep, you won't care what time or where or when it is.

So Big Grin , are you sure??

OK, I see you nodding your head. Here goes:

Bring to a boil 2 Cups of sugar and 2 Cups of water, boil for 5 minutes. This makes a simple syrup.
Let cool and then add a few sprigs of fresh spearmint.
Put this minty syrup into a container with a cover and refrigerate overnight. That allows the mint to spread its flavor throughout.

The next day -- first Saturday in May -- you'll make one mint julep at a time. Fill a mint julep cup with crushed ice all the way to the top and add 1 Tablespoon of the minty syrup and 2 ounces of bourbon; Makers Mark is best. Stir really fast with a spoon to make the cup frosty, then garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Sip. Very Slowly.

And by the way, the mint that was soaking in the syrup will have settled to the bottom, so when you reach the bottom, just toss that used mint.

And now you want to know what a julep cup is, right??
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 16, 2014 10:01 PM CST
OH, I forgot @dirtdorphins .

The cups frost much better if you've had them in the freezer for awhile before you add the ice and syrup and bourbon. Not that it changes the flavor, but it sure looks cool.
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Feb 17, 2014 2:50 AM CST
What a FUN and informative article Sharon.

I didn't know about Pluto and Menthe either.

Really cool about the Japanese beetles. Hmm....

I have no idea what a julep cup is Whistling Green Grin!
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
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Joannabanana
Feb 17, 2014 9:10 AM CST
I love your stories, Sharon. Great article.
I have had quite a few different mints in my garden over the years. Most aren't too invasive here, but I guess they could take over if left unchecked. My catmint and bee balm do spread a lot and each spring I rip out a lot of the root mass to keep the plant clumps at a reasonable size. I have had spearmint over winter in a window box. The peppermint did not.

I have grown Korean Mint a few years. The leaves are quite small and bluish. Tastes like licorice

I haven't tried it, but my neighbor says that chocolate mint on vanilla ice cream is quite yummy. The chocolate mint seems quite hardy here, but I don't consider it invasive. I usually have to search for it in the flower beds when my neighbor want some for ice cream. I have also grown Majito mint, for making a Majito rum cocktail. I guess it would be similar to your whiskey julep cocktail.
[Last edited by Joannabanana - Feb 17, 2014 9:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Feb 17, 2014 10:15 AM CST
Fabulous article!!

Several years ago I bought a house that had an above ground pool. The former owners planted mint all around the pool, I assume to deter the mosquitoes. I took the pool out and made a flower garden there. I was very very careful to remove all the mint! I actually was successful. Removing the Snow on the Mountain and Lily of the Valley was a different story!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 17, 2014 10:44 AM CST
Thanks Vic, I"ll see if I can find a picture of my julep cup. And if I can't, I guess I'll just take another picture.

Hi Joanne! I still love the rose drawing and always have to take another look when I see it. The mint that I have -- most folks here call it field mint, where I grew up it was called mountain mint, over the years I'm sure they crossed with other mints; but they are unlike any mint I've bought at a nursery. I also have bee balm and catmint, neither are nearly as invasive as what I have. The mints I have purchased aren't invasive at all. The clumps get large over time, just as the bee balm does, but they don't invade. The mint I am writing about came as a start in about 1970 or so, it's been here ever since. Very strong plant.

It's always interesting to know how a plant works and what it does in other climates. My daughter in law is from Spain, she uses my mint for her mojitos, I'm sure it's probably the same thing, maybe a slight difference.
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Feb 17, 2014 10:52 AM CST
Jennifer, thanks!

I can't imagine anyone planting this particular mint around a pool, it grows so tall you almost can't see over it, but I can understand that most any kind of mint would help with the mosquito population. There are just so many varieties of mint, it's hard to tell the difference. I'll bet that pool area made a beautiful flower bed. Great idea you had.

I agree about lily of the valley and my other two mistakes are bishops weed and variegated vinca vine. I wanted a 'white' border on one end of my house to blend into a white/pale bed at the corner. I ended up with a sea of white. Now both are mostly contained and act as accents. I just have to keep the vinca trimmed and thinned.

All of them, pretty but invasive in some areas.
Thanks again! Smiling
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Feb 17, 2014 11:06 AM CST
Mint julep cup . . .
Thumb of 2014-02-17/Sharon/8ac0aa

Edit: This is an old cup, it was given to me on my 18th birthday. I posted the wrong picture, the cup has an S etched into it. Sometime today I'll take it out of its place of honor in my cupboard and take a picture of the other side.
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[Last edited by Sharon - Feb 17, 2014 11:09 AM (+)]
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Feb 17, 2014 11:29 AM CST
Thank you @Sharon, I enjoyed the article very much. We had spearmint growing on the north side of our foundation back home and Mom always put the mint leaves in our sweet tea. I was already grown before I tasted 'plain' tea.

We the old black canning pot developed leaks we buried it in the ground to confine the mint.
Acorn

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Feb 17, 2014 11:36 AM CST
Greene!!! Thank you so much. I did the same thing one time with the old black canning pot -- except I think it was the pot that Gramma did laundry in, now I can't remember. But that was another place, another time. I wish I had that pot now.

And just like you, I can't drink sweet tea without a sprig of mint in it! Smiling
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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
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Joannabanana
Feb 17, 2014 11:36 AM CST
Cool cup Sharon! What a great keepsake. Lovey dubby
I put some of Melissa's sketches here:
She just did the cat last week. Thanks for the nice comments about her rose sketch
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Feb 17, 2014 11:39 AM CST
I'll be sure to take a look! Thanks so much!
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Feb 17, 2014 1:01 PM CST
Thanks for the recipe Sharon!
I was wondering what a 'simple syrup' could be when I had seen it in another recipe. It occurs to me, though, that 2 cups of it will make a lot more than one drink Hilarious!
I'm gonna try it this spring--first Saturday in May, although I'll be much later on the time (out west here and having to work late too). I have a special cup kinda like that but a little different that I think will work just fine Smiling

My mint hitchhiked over here in a clump of bleeding heart that my neighbor gave me about six years ago. It has made itself quite at home in various sections of my yard now...
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Feb 17, 2014 1:09 PM CST
MInt has a tendency to do that, DD, make itself right at home. Enjoy it!

The recipe is from those long ago days when I was living in Louisville and had Derby parties that included many friends. But a simple syrup is just that, same amounts of water and sugar, so you can pretty well adjust it to one or two drinks fairly easily. It is a good drink, but it packs quite a wallop before you know it.

The cups don't matter much either, they're just for tradition. Same sweet taste in a plastic cup!

It's been a long time since I made more than one julep . . . or two. Smiling
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Feb 17, 2014 1:13 PM CST
Cool cup Sharon Thumbs up

I love how your articles always have the BEST conversations Hurray!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Feb 17, 2014 1:15 PM CST
Most of the time the comments are more fun than the article! Big Grin
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