Summer Entertaining Series: Favorite Cocktail Garnish from the Garden: Basil
June 13, 2019 | By Roundtree Landscaping
We think it’s important to enjoy your landscape not only for its beauty, but also for the harvest it can offer you with strategically placed edibles. Combining edible plants with your ornamental landscape plantings can be fun and easy with the right plants. One of the most versatile and easy to grow herbs you can blend into your garden beds is basil.
Basil is a sun-loving, warm season herb that grows quickly during the warm temperatures of late spring and summer. Basil’s quick growth habit makes it ideal for routine harvesting and the wide range of basil types each add a distinct smell and flavor to the garden – and your kitchen! Basil flavors can range from the typical sweet basil used in pasta and pizza dishes, to more exotic varieties as lemon, lime, thai (licorice), and cinnamon basil.
Most standard types of basil have solid green-colored leaves, but you can also plant deep purple leaved varieties. Purple basil is perfect mixed with sun loving annual flowers to provide foliage contrast.
Purple basil planted next to cosmos.
How to grow Basil
To be successful in growing basil, pick a sunny, well-draining spot. Containers also work great for basil. Space plants about 12” apart to allow space for plants to grow. Make sure to continually harvest your basil - simply by snapping off a few sets of leaves and stem - will keep them producing new leaves. Basil is eager to flower in summer months - which is not a bad thing because the flowers are pretty and the bees love them. But to keep them producing more leaves than flowers, be sure to harvest stems regularly.
One of our favorite ways to use our harvested basil in summer is for cocktail garnishes. Here’s our perfect Greyhound recipe using basil. We love the combination of the grapefruit and basil flavors.
Try this Greyhound recipe:
- 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
- 1.5 oz of Grapefruit Vodka
- 3-4 large basil leaves
- splash of sparkling water
- Combine juice, vodka, and basil in a shaker. Muddle the basil and shake.
- Pour into 2 glasses, and top with sparkling water. Stir.
- Garnish with another sprig of basil.
If cocktails aren’t your thing, you can also harvest your summer basil for:
- Fresh Basil & Tomato salad
- Pizza or pasta topping
- Dry and store leaves for winter use
If you’re looking to get more enjoyment out of your landscape and garden beds, consider mixing in a few veggie and herb plants with your flowers. It’s so handy to have fresh herbs at the ready whenever you need them!