| Favourite herb varieties
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is a wonderful addition to salads and tomato dishes. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is the mint of choice for drinks and jellies. There are exotic, fruit-scented mint varieties, such as variegated pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’) and mints with lime-, lemon- or even pear-flavour notes.
The most common types are sweet, dwarf, purple-leaved and scented-leaved. Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) grows about 60 centimetres tall and is terrific for making pesto. Dwarf varieties, which grow to about 25 centimetres, have tiny leaves; spicy Thai basil is one dwarf with an intense fragrance and licorice flavour. Then there are purple-leaved basils and aromatic basils, such as the lemon-scented Sweet Dani and even, from Mexico, cinnamon basil.
Purple sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurea’) has the same aromatic leaves as regular, green garden sage (Salvia officinalis), but the lovely purple colour makes it particularly ornamental in the garden or in a pot. There are golden sages and a tricolour variety (green foliage with white and pink streaks) too, but all the coloured varieties tend to be less winter hardy than regular garden sage.