Think of this basket of mints as a multipurpose garden: edible, portable, and even a source of entertainment.
Placed atop a copper tray and wrought-iron stand, it's ready for serving refreshments at your next outdoor get-together. Move the basket to a dining table and use it as a centerpiece or as a dessert tray.
Either way, it helps you serve a little surprise with a touch of elegance, whether you snip the plants for aromatic garnishes in drinks or mince and sprinkle the bits on desserts.
Encourage guests to pinch off and whiff the mints for an uplifting ritual after a meal. Stimulate conversation by guessing the mints' flavors. And if mint isn't your cup of tea, so to speak, you can substitute other sweet-flavor herbs.
- Tote basket
- Coarse-grit sandpaper
- Exterior stain and paint
- Landscaping fabric
- Potting mix
- Copper serving tray and stand
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata) -- top left
- M. 'Juicy Fruit' -- top center
- M. 'Crispa' -- center
- M. 'Kentucky Colonel' -- top right
- M. 'Pineapple' -- right front
- M. 'Banana' -- left center front
- M. 'Chocolate' -- left front
- Give the basket a dark, coppery finish that coordinates with the tray by first roughly sanding the outside of the basket and then brushing on dark gray or black exterior stain and dabbing on sienna and copper outdoor paints. Let dry.
- Line the basket with landscaping fabric, tucking and folding the corners and curves. Fill the basket at least halfway with potting mix.
- Plant a selection of mints, covering and filling in between the root balls with potting mix. (We started with a 17-1/2-inch basket and one of each mint variety in 3-inch pots.)
- Water thoroughly after planting. Keep the basket -- on a copper serving tray atop a plant stand -- in partial shade, where mints thrive.
- Water regularly to keep the soil moist. Snip the herbs regularly to keep them looking lush. If flowers begin to form, pinch them off.
- At the end of the growing season, take cuttings of the plants and grow them indoors over winter for a set of new garden-ready plants come spring.