The Arbor Gate’s monthly ‘Herb Picks’ for 2014 honor the memory of Madalene Hill and celebrate her pioneering work in bringing herbs to all the gardeners of the Gulf South (and beyond). Each month’s herb is closely associated with Madalene.
February 2014 marks the fifth anniversary of the dedication of the Madalene Hill Herb Garden at The Arbor Gate.
She was our teacher, mentor, and friend.
Mints hybridize easily – hence the many different named varieties. Truth is, though, that only two essential mint oils exist: spearmint and peppermint. Also called Red-Stemmed Apple Mint, Doublemint ‘Madalene Hill’ is unique in having both oils, which give it an especially subtle and complex flavor. It was re-named for Madalene because of her work to broaden the cultivation and use of this wonderful culinary mint. She began growing it in the late l950’s.
The leaves of Doublemint ‘Madalene Hill’ are smooth and a glossy green, as opposed to the somewhat rough texture of other mints. During cool months, the stems become quite red.
As with all mints, it declines in the summer, but when cut back hard and fertilized, it will return happily with cooler days. Unless it is to be used as a spreading ground cover in a large area, mint needs to be planted in containers to manage its habit of spreading throughout the garden, and it needs full sun to partial shade. Too much fertilizer will diminish its flavor, but plenty of water is necessary.
Like most herbs, this beautiful mint should be used, because cutting and snipping will result in a bushier, more productive plant.