Home' Outdoors : WAs Best Outdoors and Gardens 2009 Contents 82 WA's Best Outdoors & Gardens 2010
ere's nothing like a mojito on a warm
summer evening, and with fresh mint flourishing
in the garden, you can keep the drinks coming
all night long. But it's not just indulgent rum-
based beverages that this fragrant herb spices
up. You can also add mint to teas, milkshakes,
desserts, salads and stir-fries, as well as the
ubiquitous sauce on roast lamb. According
to Hilton, "there are many varieties that are
fabulous to grow including basil mint, apple
mint, variegated mint, chocolate mint and
peppermint." ere is even an eau de cologne
mint, which can be used in potpourri.
Growing mint: When left to its own devices
(in a spot it's particularly fond of), mint will
rapidly take over your garden. For this reason,
it's best to plant the herb in a large plastic pot
with the base cut out and the rim proud of ground
level. It only needs a little water and depending on
the variety will grow in sun or shade (most likely
both) during spring, summer and autumn.
A popular herb in Asian cuisine, coriander is
etimes referred to as Chinese parsley. e
ave a fresh, spicy flavour (some note citrus
epper overtones), making it a winner in ai
rries. It's also an essential ingredient in mixed
spice, which is used to flavour cakes, cooked fruits
and biscuits. "Like many herbs, coriander can be
cut and arranged in a vase to not only beautify a
space, but also act as a natural air freshener," says
Hilton. It's also a bit of wonder herb, believed to
aid digestion, insomnia and treating colic.
Growing coriander: Coriander and fennel tend
not to get along so be sure to give them their
distance when organising your herb garden.
Choose a spot with morning sun and dappled
afternoon shade for optimum results, and make
sure the soil is well drained. "Coriander is great
to grow in the cooler months for its aroma and
flavour," says Hilton Blake, "so plant seeds in
summer and autumn. Small stakes will prevent
the bushes from being blown over."
A stimulator of sorts, rosemary not only has an
impact on the tastebuds, it's believed to get the
memory kicking as well. (Tip: carry a sprig to
exams to help refresh the noggin). e perennial
herb has fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves
which complement a variety of dishes. "Every herb
garden must have rosemary," says Patrick Coward.
"All lamb dishes, tomato-based sauces, pizzas,
chicken and fish dishes can get a great lift from it.
Shove a few sticks into a bottle of olive oil with a
couple of cloves of garlic and leave for a month.
Drizzle over bread and toast quickly in the oven
for scrumptious herb bread." e longer, straight
stalks also make great skewers for the barbeque!
Growing rosemary: Unlike most herbs, rosemary
is a modest lass -- happy to lead a quiet life out of
the garden spotlight. e more you fuss over it, the
less likely it is to perform. As long as the plant has
a sunny, well-drained spot, rosemary can pretty
much look after herself. Harvest at any time of the
year, trim after flowering to promote new growth
and feed while you're there -- that's it!
Tarragon is widely regarded as the "king of
herbs," particularly in French cuisine where it's
commonly used in salads, vinegars and sauces
(it's an essential ingredient in the traditional
e main variety is French tarragon, which has
a subtle bite and a warm, aromatic flavour. Chef
Alain Fabrègues from e Loose Box in Mundaring
recommends finely cutting the razor-edged leaves
then gently sautéing them in a sauce to maximise
flavours. "It has a hint of aniseed to it," he says,
"and tastes great in salmon and chicken dishes."
Growing tarragon: Tarragon proves difficult to
cultivate by seed -- you'll have more joy buying
a plant from the nursery and planting it in well-
composted soil (in spring). It needs good drainage,
full sun and summer moisture, and grows to about
1m. Tarragon sadly dies out during the winter, so
be sure to keep an eye on where it's planted.
Dill was used in medieval Europe for love
potions and spells against witchcraft.
Unfortunately people gave up on it, which is
probably why divorce rates are so high today.
e herb has long been valued for its medicinal
qualities, said to aid digestion, relieve headaches,
stop hiccups and sweeten bad breath. In the
kitchen, the golden yellow flowers on the dill plant
can be added to pickled gherkins and cucumber to
make a popular condiment known as dill pickles.
And the seeds, which have a stronger flavour than
the flowers, are great in slow-cooked meals like
soups and stews. e fine leaves also make a great
accompaniment to fish -- especially salmon.
Growing dill: Dill plants grow to about 1m in
height, so they'll need a sunny or lightly shaded
spot that's protected from the wind. ey must
have good drainage but will rush to seed if the soil
gets too dry, so make sure the plants are regularly
watered at the base. It takes about eight weeks for
dill to grow from seed to maturity.
10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 a lime, but cut
into 4 wedges
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 cup ice cubes
45ml white rum
125ml soda water
Crush mint leaves and 1 lime
wedge in a glass to release
juices. Add 2 more lime wedges
and sugar and mix again. Fill
the glass almost to the top with
ice. Pour the rum over the ice
and top with soda water. Add
limes for garnish.
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