With the silly season fast approaching it is a great time to look to your garden for inspiration for those long sunny evenings. Unfortunately cocktails don’t grow on trees, but you may find some of their must have ingredients in your very own garden. We look at some of the top options that go great in cocktails, mocktails or snacks and how to grow them.
Happy Hour Harvest
Lemon or Lime
Citrus grow best in warm, sunny locations which are sheltered from strong winds. The primary need for citrus is well draining soil as they don’t like to be waterlogged. The best time for planting citrus is in spring or early summer and again in autumn. Citrus trees are gross feeders and require being fed regularly with a specific slow release citrus fertiliser, try Tui Citrus Food.
Best used in: lemonade, with light coloured spirits, desserts or with chicken.
If you’re new to herb growing, mint is the perfect place to start. Mint grows best in rich, moist soil in partial shade. When choosing a location, opt for one where the plant will receive morning sun and partial afternoon shade. Mint has little underground runners which explains why it often pops up throughout the garden. To keep it contained, plant it in a pot or container. If you’re adding mint to your garden and don’t want it to take over, you can submerge it in a pot or container (around 30cm in diameter) and add to your garden as normal, you can also apply mulch to help contain it.
Best used in: anything from summer drinks like mojitos, tabbouleh to fruit salads.
The aromatic and resonant flavour of rosemary makes it a delightful pairing to your summertime cuisine. Rosemary is a great choice for planting in pots or containers, however do not let it dry out, water evenly throughout the season. If you’re planting outside, make sure that the soil is warm.
Best used in: although rosemary and roast vegetables and meats go hand in hand, you can take your martinis to the next level by piercing your olives with a sprig of rosemary and simply letting them sit in your glass. Rosemary also pairs well with citrus.
The summertime staple, with it’s warm flavour basil works well in sweet or mild recipes. Basil needs warmth and regular watering to flourish. It is happy to be raised in a pot on the kitchen bench or windowsill, however you should water from the bottom by popping it in a saucer, basil likes it’s soil to be moist and well-drained.
Best used in: pesto! A delicious topping for pizza and a tasty addition to fruity cocktails.
Lavender is very easy to grow when given the conditions it enjoys. Lavender prefers full sunlight – so plant where it will receive light for the majority of the day. Lavender do not tolerate waterlogged environments; they need a well-drained site to develop in to healthy plants. Restrict watering your lavender plants to the hot summer months.
Palmers handy tip: Lavenders are ideal in containers, for the flower border or used for a hedge. Lavenders also look stunning as standards for a more formal look.
Best used in: the pungent perfumed flavour makes lavender perfect for cakes, biscuits and drinks.
Plant raspberries in an open sunny position. In northern areas plant to protect from afternoon sun. Blueberries are cold hardy and require chilling hours to set fruit and leaves, and can be grown in all regions of New Zealand. Plant in full sun, though they can handle some afternoon shade. Boysenberries need full sun and do not tolerate windy or salty conditions, however performs well in both warm and cool climates and is frost tolerant as they become dormant.
Best used in: delicious in baking and desserts, biscuits and drinks.