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You don't need a lot of space to make this cocktail garden; ours was a simple 4- X 4-foot square raised bed in full sun. There's a lot of clay in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden, so to keep our cocktail garden healthy and productive, we added a lot of compost to the soil. All of the plants were provided by Bonnie Plants.
An essential flavor for margaritas, lime adds a zesty, fresh taste to drinks and desserts. A subtropical tree, it's best grown in a pot if you live in a cold-winter climate. Move it to a sunny window indoors for the winter where you'll be rewarded with fragrant flowers in spring.
Lemon balm leaves perks up any drink with a light, citrusy note. This tough perennial is easy to grow and will provide you with a ton of fragrant foliage. Try harvesting a few leaves and freezing them in ice cubes for a beautiful and refreshing treat.
Lavender, one of the most loved herbs, is often absent from the culinary garden. But use its fragrant purple flowers as a garnish or stirring stick for a martini, or use them to impart an intriguing flavor to lemonade.
You may not think to cook with marigolds, but signet varieties pack a big punch in their puny petals. Their flavor is a little on the spicy side, so they go great with butters or cream sauces, which temper their punch.
Bold, bright, and beautiful, 'Golden Delicious' pineapple sage has glowing chartreuse foliage and fire-engine-red flowers in late summer and fall -- plus pineapple-scented foliage. Snip a section of stem, cut off the leaves, and use it as a stirring stick or cocktail spear.
Refreshing chives go with just about everything savory -- try them in a bloody Mary, for example. Chives' foliage has a grassy texture, so it looks good with just about everything in the garden, too.
Add a cool touch to any drink with a sprig of mint -- crush it for a delightful minty mojito, freeze it in an ice cube to bring zing to lemonade, or simply use it as a fragrant garnish.
Test Garden Tip: Mint is a vigorous spreader; many gardeners grow it in a container to keep it from taking over the garden.
There's a seemingly endless number of ways to use strawberries in summer drinks -- martinis, daiquiris, and margaritas all come to mind. Or use this sweet, delicious fruit to decorate your drinks.
Basil is one of the most versatile herbs you can grow. While it's a no-brainer for pesto, pizza, and other Italian dishes, try a basil martini or crush it to make refreshing lemonade.
Tomatoes are a main ingredient in bloody Marys, but don't limit yourself. Float cherry tomatoes in martinis or other drinks for added color and flavor.
Here's a grid you can use to create your own cocktail garden:
A. 1 key lime
B. 2 lemon balm
C. 1 lavender
D. 1 signet marigold
E. 2 'Golden Delicious' pineapple sage
F. 2 chives
G. 2 spearmint
H. 4 strawberries
I. 1 basil
J. 1 'Husky Cherry Red' Tomato