Cocktail gardens are set to be one of this summer's biggest garden trends – an elegant addition to the already massive garden bar trend that transformed our backyards last summer.
The cocktail garden is a natural addition to your outdoor bar ideas, like a mini kitchen garden, but with plants carefully chosen with your favorite tipple in mind. And if you don't like alcoholic cocktails, you can use many of these plants in herbal infusions or juice mixes. If you don't have much space, then start with this plant, says a cocktail expert.
And the plant in question is...mint. Rhidian Turner, bar manager and cocktail creator at Bourne & Hollingsworth, says if you only grow one plant in your cocktail garden, this should be the one: 'If forced to choose, I’d say in mint in all of its glorious varieties! There are so many wonderful flavor profiles, from apple mint, ginger mint, chocolate, lemon balm and even sweet pear, alongside the more common varieties. Changing up your mint can radically change a cocktail from a familiar flavor to something fresh and new! It makes for a simple but elegant garnish as well.'
Learning how to grow mint is easy – just remember to always grow it as part of your container gardening ideas to prevent it from completely taking over your garden: 'Most mint varieties enjoy full sun to partial shade. I have learned to my own cost to plant it in its own box planter as it can muscle out other plants. Other than that, water it frequently and let it be! As well as the leaves, the flowers are edible and can add a dash of color to your garnishes.'
Wondering which cocktails mint is good for, apart from the ubiquitous Mojito? Well, there's the Mint Julep, made with Bourbon, or the devastatingly elegant Southside, made with gin, mint, and lime. Mint also adds a pleasant herbal twist to a Watermelon Martini.
Again, if you want to go alcohol free, learn how to grow your own herbal tea – mint will be a big part of that. And if you start growing plants like elderflower, for example, you can do both teas and cocktails, depending on what you feel like that day.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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