Among the prolific basil family, my favorite is undoubtedly Genovese, one of the many sweet basils. If I grew no other basil, this would be the one. If I had never planted basil in my garden, I would begin my collection with Genovese. Why? Many reasons: First, it possesses that ineffable and beloved classic basil fragrance and flavor to the Nth degree! When I think of basil or remember its scent and taste, this is what I remember and long for in the dead of winter.
Second, Genovese Basil humbly requires almost nothing of the gardener. Just put it in the ground in the hot season and then step back! You’ll be rewarded with thunderous growth! Get ready to puree and freeze leaves in oil several times during the growing season — and while you’re at it, put in a few tomatoes and get the mozzarella ready as well — a summer feast is in the making, right there in your garden.
Basils abound — green, purple, huge to tiny leaves, tall for the back of the garden, globe-shaped for pots and borders, beautifully dark green and virtually perennial bell pepper-flavored, and tall salvia-looking African Blue for the bees, butterflies, and pure beauty of it.