Round leaf, Apple, Hairy or Horse, Middlesex, or Spearmint and Bergamot,to name but a few of the many species of mint that are used today.
Mint is one of the oldest herbs and comes from around the Mediterranean area, however the plant has been found everywhere expect the Poles. As far as I know there are well over 30 varieties of Mint.
The herb is very easy to grow and does well in cool, damp places, however Mints will also grow in the full sun quite well.
The plant was first written about in English by one John Ray in the year 1696.
There is something about Mint that not many people realize and that is the plant is a very hungry feeder. Before you plant, make sure that you put some well rotten manure or good vegetable compost at the bottom of the hole. If you grow mint in pots; do renew the compost every two or three years
I know many people think that mint is a bit of a rouge, in so far as it will spread and take over you whole garden. This is true up to a point. The reason is that, like many other plants (Mares tail) the roots spread under ground and spring up where you least want it.
Not many pests or disease trouble Mint. Every now and then my Mint will get Mint Rust and as I grow all my Mints in pots; I just discard the plant and the compost and start again in a fresh pot.
Whichever Mint you decide to grow in your garden, it is a good idea to taste the leaf from the stock you are thinking of planting. They are quite different and not all make a great cup of mint tea.
I have several, but the ones I like best are: Apple Mint and Spearmint.
Apple Mint is a vigorous growing perennial with long underground runners. The mint grows up to 18 inches high with leaves that are light in color. Apple Mint has reddish stem which is also hairy with flowers of dense spikes of pale lilac. This Mint gives off an aroma of apple and spearmint. The distinctive apple and mint flavor of this Mint adds a delicious taste to fruit salads, water ices, and cider cups as well as other fruit drinks. I use it to make Apple Mint Tea.
Spearmint is the common or garden Mint that everybody knows about, even to the extent of people forgetting that it is a growing plant! As such, it is also the oldest culinary herb to be used.
Like Apple mint, this grows to a height of 18 inches and as the same flower color.
Spearmint is mentioned in all the early writings of doctors and naturalists. The mint is used in food as well as medicine because of its value as a digestive.
Spearmint is most often used to make mint sauce or to cook with new potatoes. I also use it with other vegetables like carrots, green beans and roots.
A handful of chopped mint goes well with minces beef, giving a wonderful flavor to your meal.