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Grow a Mint Garden for Scent and Use

Mint is quite the versatile herb. It comes in dozens of varieties, from the well known peppermint and spearmint to the exotic flowering alpine mint bush to the unusual chocolate mint. You can use it in cooking, for jellies, seasoning or teas. You can use it for skin care and treatment of indigestion. Fresh mint rubbed between the fingers smells heavenly!

Mint has long been a favorite herb, rich in folklore and history. A cookbook from the first century lists mint in many recipes. The Greeks believed mint was an aphrodisiac and would not permit their soldiers to eat it in any form. In the 17th century, scholars were advised to wear a crown of mint to aid them in concentrating on their studies.

Mint is an easy plant to grow. It enjoys partial shade and moist ground, but will thrive almost anywhere. In fact, mint grows so well it will soon take over a garden or small yard, choking out all other plants. So it is best to plan carefully when deciding to cultivate a mint garden. Use a container when planting mint to keep it from spreading. A large coffee can or milk carton with the bottom cut out will work just fine. Mint will also thrive in terra cotta pots or any type of container garden.

The best mint gardens are small and include only a few species of mint. It’s possible for mint to cross-pollinate, so choose similar types when planting close together. You can plant several small mint gardens, of different varieties, in choice locations throughout the yard. Mint will grow well under trees where many ornamental plants don’t thrive.

Mint can be low growing or it can grow up to two feet in height, depending on the type. The small flowers are white. If you want to encourage your mint to grow thick and bushy, pinch the flowers off when they appear. You can harvest mint at any time, but don’t strip the plants of leaves. Use scissors or your finger tips to nip the leaves next to the stem. Harvest from the top of the stalk first to encourage new shoots to grow.

If you have a paving stone walkway that is inlaid in soil, you can plant Spanish mint between the stones. This type of mint is low growing and will spread between the stepping stones. Not only does it look pretty but when you walk on the mint and crush the leaves, it smells wonderful and will soothe your senses.

There are many ways to utilize mint plants. A mint garden is a no fuss, easy way to fill the empty spots in your yard. Their stimulating, sweet fragrance will lift your mood and bring enjoyment for many years.

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