?Planting Spicy Mints in Your Garden. By Sue Langley
The ‘Lamiaceae’ family of hardy plants
The rich, spiciness of these plants makes them useful in cooking, and nearly half the spices in your kitchen come from this one family, including basil, rosemary, lavender, marjoram, germander, thyme, savory, plus culinary sage and of course mint, peppermint, and spearmint. It’s the Lamiaceae or Mint family!
Plants with whatWildflowers and Weedssays are “square stalks with opposite leaves, and usually aromatic” include Coleus, Agastache, known as hyssop or hummingbird mint, Monarda or Bee Balm, Ajuga, Catmint and Lavender.
Lamium, Perovskia or Russian sage, Phlomis,…Jeruselem sage, Lamb’s Ear or stachys are more varieties that grow excellently in the foothills.
You can make tea from these CA natives, California Wild Mint,Mentha arvensis,Hummingbird Sage,Salvia spathaceaand Fragrant Pitchersage,Lepechinia fragrans,just wash and tear a few small leaves into a non metal cup or bowl and pour very hot water on them to steep to taste.
One of the best things about these plants are that the deer leave them alone. With the exception of coleus, which the deer munch like salad, herb smelling plants are by passed by deer.
Designing with minty herbs in the garden
Thyme is used to edge every planting bed in my garden. Low growing and handy to the kitchen it doesn’t mind being stepped on a bit. The silver thyme is an especially beautiful variety. Also, one called ‘Foxley,’ is an attractive variegated form. Thecreepingor wooly thyme covers these rock steps, below.