A friend of mine told me she was growing multiple varieties of thyme. Interesting, I thought. Do you cook with it? I asked. No, she said, I just love the way it looks—the little, tiny leaves.
She makes regular trips to the garden store searching for new varieties of thyme.
Ingenious. How great to become an expert on all the cultivars of one herb. As she talked on about her thyme, I started pondering possibilities for my own herb.
I wanted it to be an herb I would use. I like plants for their aesthetic qualities, but looks aren’t enough to keep my heart in the game (good life advice). Basil came to mind as a candidate, but then I landed on mint. I imagined hot days on the porch sipping iced mint tea (I have no porch), Israeli couscous salad, and eye-catching green sprigs perched tantalizingly atop berry desserts. Mint was it.
I trucked over to the garden store and plowed through the forest of herbs, hunting for every mint cultivar I could find. They had six and I bought each one: peppermint, spearmint, garden mint, apple mint, mojito mint (I wish), and chocolate mint. Add those to the one basic all-purpose mint I had picked up at Trader Joe’s and I had a total of seven mint plants.
I can’t wait to get them outside and into the ground. My thyme-growing friend reminded that mint really has a tendency to spread. Yes, God willing, I said.
The smell and taste of fresh mint tea transports me back to Morocco, where one of the main redemptive qualities of the entire country is the fresh, piping hot mint tea. The brew consists of a handful of fresh mint sprigs jammed into a glass tumbler with several sugar cubes, and topped with boiling water. I make it sugar free these days, but it’s no less delightful. Well, maybe a little less delightful, but still significantly delightful.
I love my little mints and all the hopes I have for them. They delight me.