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he farm-to-table movement is all the rage, so it only makes sense that cocktail gardening is coming into its own. When I discovered that it was one of the top gardening trends for this year, I knew I had to do some serious research. It’s critical to be up-to-date on gardening trends, you know. Like all serious researchers, I went to Facebook for answers. “What is a cocktail garden?” I asked. I discovered that its meaning varies among experienced quaffers. The casual cocktail gardener grabs a cold boy from the fridge and takes it outside while grilling burgers. My brother up north cocktail gardens in the winter months by making slushies with fresh snow. Committed cocktail gardeners may grow 20 or more varieties of plants just to complement their beverages. That’s impressive. My problem with this is that after an herbal 32  t a l l a h a s s e e

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concoction or two, I don’t think I would be able to locate the cardamom for the next round of Whiskey Rivers. Southerners were the original cocktail gardeners, and we don’t always mess around with a lot of unusual recipes either. A handful of mint, simple syrup and a dram or two of good bourbon still make the perfect garden cocktail. Serve a mint julep in a chilled silver cup on the front porch, and before long you’ll feel like a Southern belle, even if your front porch is an apartment balcony. Wear a gigantic hat and put the horse races on television, and you’ll practically be at the Kentucky Derby. Aren’t cocktail gardens wonderful? Herbs are a mainstay of the cocktail garden, and they are easy to grow in our forgiving climate. Plant lemony herbs, such as verbena and lemon thyme, and sweet herbs like mint (try

chocolate and apple mints!). A few sage leaves brighten up tequila. Jalapenos or pickled okra spice up a Bloody Mary, and avid gardeners can even make their own tomato juice. Edible flowers like nasturtium and citrus blossoms are lovely garnishes when frozen in ice cubes. Citrus is another excellent cocktail garden choice, and lucky for us, we can grow many varieties in our gardens. Meyer lemon, satsuma and the elegant limequat are outstanding choices. We can also grow strawberries, kiwi, blueberries and peaches, rendering our cocktail options endless. One remarkable thing about cocktail gardening is that it makes drinking memorable. That’s practically an oxymoron, isn’t it? Think about it. How many drinks do you remember? I thought so. But who can forget an uber-fresh mojito or a luscious lemon drop scented


The online April-May 2013 issue of Tallahassee Woman Magazine. Lot of links to great shopping and unique boutiques, services, and events, al...

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