Here’s how it normally goes with Flower of the Week: we come across a particular seasonal bloom in one of our bouquets that bowls us over; we take a picture of it and fall in love with it even more. At some point someone thinks to ask: hang on, what is it actually called? Googling and florist-calling ensues and then upon finding out its some super-specific sub-species of something or other, yours truly struggles desperately to dig up some interesting tidbits about this pretty little thing that nobody has ever really heard of.
Obviously everybody has heard of mint though! In fact, there’s almost too much to say about it… Talk about the culinary joy that its leaves bring and we’re spanning everything from your gran’s signature roast lamb dinner to the Touareg teas of North Africa and the Cuban mojitos that you and your friends were getting giggly on last Friday.
Or what about the way its been used in medicine over the ages, treating all sorts of stomach aches and chest pains to varying degrees of effectiveness. Cosmetics, aromatherapy, room scent… the menthol from its essential oils make mint a key part of the treat-yoself industries. Long before mining the essential oils of mint, the herb was used dry as a room deodorizer, leaves strewn across floors to cover the smell of hard-packed soil.
But dwelling on all of this means overlooking our inevitable favourite element: its unexpectedly beautiful flowering. The reason you don’t see them much is because after flowering begins, the leaves (i.e the bits you use) stop growing, so many cultivators remove them as early as possible. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on flowering mint though, expect wispy whorls of pretty white and purple to countrify any garden posy. Fresh!