I am literally bursting with excitement to reveal to you the plants that make up our Summer Cocktails plant collections.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a gin expert, cocktails fan, or willing taster, there are so many goodies included in this collection of plants that you can add to delicious summer cocktails as key ingredients, beautiful garnishes, or as showstopping summer party centrepieces. We've even put together a few summer cocktail ideas that you might like to try.
[Ahem. Public service announcement.] Before we get started, an important note about eating plants
The plants we've listed here as edible (we've marked edible plants with an asterisk*) in our collection have been organically grown as edible plants, but regardless you should wash them before eating and exercise judgement about whether or not to eat them if they have been outside in your garden. If we haven't included an 'edible' label, you should assume that the plant is definitely not edible, as they have been grown for ornamental purposes rather than as food.
Mint* <--that's the symbol we're using for edible, btw :-)
Mint! Mint is a monster. It can spread like wildfire, so it is best grown in containers. Do not plant it directly in your garden, as it will take over! It is also practically unkillable: you can treat it as mean as you like, and although it might occasionally look a bit thirsty in hot and dry weather, it will bounce back with a vengeance at the first sight of rain or water. Plant this mint up as soon as you get it, and put it towards the back of your container.
This particular type of mint has flowers that are often used as cut flowers, and the leaves make excellent mojito ingredients.
If you've been reading the Lazy Flora website lately, you'll know that hibiscus is my all-time favourite flower. It's no accident that it's the flower used in the Lazy Flora logo, or that it appears in both our indoor and outdoor plant collections in July.
To learn more about hibiscus care, check out this article dedicated to hibiscus. And you might also be interested to read this article, which is basically me waxing lyrical about why I love hibiscus so much.
A member of the sage family, this plant enjoys a sunny spot but can also tolerate some shade. It will flower well into the Autumn. Suggestion for a Salvia cocktail: 1 part vodka, 1 part peppermint schnapps, 1 part cranberry juice. Yum!
Yes, these are actual strawberry plants, and they produce actual strawberries that you can eat.
To encourage fruit, the plants need a sunny spot, and they need lots and lots of water. The more you water the plant, the juicier the fruit will be.
However, these aren't strawberries like the ones you find in the supermarket. They are delicate, tiny Alpine strawberries, which often grow under the leaves of the plant. Birds and other garden wildlife love strawberries, so it is a good idea to watch out especially vigilantly for pests in the garden, and act as soon as you see something suspicious anywhere near your strawberries.
This type of strawberry spreads very easily and is very easy to care for. Place them at the front of your Lazy Flora container, as they won't grow very tall, and they will often trail attractively down the side or over the front of a container. They go very well in Pimms, and especially in strawberry gin.
My first experience of nasturtium was in primary school, when every child in my class was given a Nasturtium plant to care for. When I brought it home, we planted it in the garden and it grew huge - well, huge to a little me anyway!
Nasturtiums provide excellent ground cover. Their pretty fragrance also makes them a lovely choice for cut flowers. They are popular with young children because they grow very fast, which is probably why my teacher thought it was a good plant for her young students.
Roses flower big time all season long. As a wonderful bonus, their petals smell divine. They like well-drained soil and benefit from a sunny spot to encourage maximum flowering. Be sure to dead-head to encourage new flowers.
Rosemary loves a hot, dry, well-drained spot. This is a great garnish for lots of drinks, and can be added to tea or a fin fizz with a slice of lemon. Also said to cure baldness (not sure we believe that though).
We've secured a range of scented geraniums: some are peppermint scented, others are chocolate and some others are lemon. The leaves on these plants smell amazing and can be used in cocktails - be sure to wash before sampling, though.
These geraniums can tolerate drought and will benefit from deadheading. The flowers are edible and leaves are scented. To release the spicy oils into a gin or vodka martini, crush the leaves before adding a spirit of your choice.
This low-growing lemon thyme adds a lemony flavour to your drinks. Works well in a classic Moscow Mule.
Now how's this flower for impressive? This showstopper adds drama to any garden. Despite their unusual and tropical appearance, passion flowers are surprisingly hardy. They are climbing plants that love a sunny, slightly shaded spot, and can grow quite rampant if allowed to do so.
The spectacular flowers each open for about a day, but there are plenty of them, so be sure to enjoy them when they are open. Cut flowers can be used as floating decorative centrepieces at cocktail parties, best picked just before your guests arrive.
Passion flowers will completely die back during winter, but will return again in the spring, becoming bigger and brighter each year.
Dianthus will flower, and flower, and flower, all summer long. They are magnificent as summery party table decorations. They love bright sunshine and moist, but not wet, soil.
And if you want to get your hands on one of our delicious Summer Cocktail plant collections, here's a lovely link to get you started.
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