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For The Garden


Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: May, 2012, Page 108

From lemon and licorice to key lime and pine, basil comes in a variety of flavors and scents. Here are several to savor.

Basil ‘Christmas’
With its pretty purple flower spikes and aromatic foliage scented like pine and mulled wine, basil ‘Christmas’ is sometimes used in wedding bouquets during the holiday season. It makes a showy border plant and can be used in pestos.

Basil ‘Magic Mountain’
A showy and heat-hardy basil, ‘Magic Mountain’ is an excellent ornamental plant. Its mild-tasting, purple-flushed leaves are delicious additions to pasta sauces and salads. The tubular purplish-pink flowers bring interest to the garden.
Thai Basil ‘Siam Queen’
Licorice-scented leaves offer up hints of cinnamon and anise flavors that help spice Thai and Italian dishes. ‘Siam Queen’ produces reddish-purple blossoms, making this ornamental herb a good choice for interplanting among flowers.

Basil ‘Amethyst Improved’
Thick burgundy-black leaves distinguish ‘Amethyst Improved’ from other basils. Its purple flower stalks attract birds, bees and butterflies. Typically favored for its ornamental value, this variety can be brought indoors to double as a houseplant.
Basil ‘Cardinal’
A standout in the garden, basil ‘Cardinal’ is a vigorous grower that produces intensely aromatic leaves. Its dark-scarlet flowers are so pretty, they can be used as cut flowers. The leaves are good for flavoring herb butters, soups and dressings.
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