I had the most beautiful garden when we lived on Fort Lewis in the South Sound area of Washington state, thanks to my friend Candace who took me on a Saturday afternoon outing to the gardening store, helped me get it all set up the organic way, and then taught me how to grow things- flowers, herbs and Sun Gold tomatoes.
My garden received a lot of afternoon sun and therefore required an every day watering to prevent dehydration and death; despite what most people think, it doesn’t rain in the Seattle area all the time, and July and August are usually picture perfect weather. It featured a great variety of herbs, including cilantro, rosemary that grew in to a gigantic hearty bush, mint, catnip (for our gangster kitties, Bugsy and Capone), thyme and basil, intermixed with purple, blue, orange, yellow annual flowers. In the corner were the Sun Gold tomatoes, which would yield fruit until early October.
My favorite thing to do after work in order to decompress from the stress of sitting at a desk most of the day and staring a computer screen (which in and of itself unnatural and quite strenuous on the body) was to make myself a summer cocktail using some of the fresh herbs and go outside and water my garden.
Here are three of my favorite summer gardening refreshments that utilized things growing in my garden:
For liquor drinkers:
1.5 oz Gin, the kind you like
A splash of elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain)
1 lime wedge
A couple of slices of cucumber with skin
Fresh Mint from the garden
Muddle cucumber and mint in an 8oz glass. Add ice up to the top. Pour in gin and elderflower liqueur. Squeeze lime wedge over it and drop it in. Top off with Prosecco. Gently stir.
For wine drinkers:
Ripe Berries (Even better if you can forage for some in your yard, like wild blackberries or raspberries)
Fresh Basil from the garden
Crush basil and berries lightly in your hand. Drop in wine glass. Add Prosecco. Gently stir.
For beer drinkers:
-1 bottle of Pilsner
-Pureed tomatoes from the garden, or fresh tomato juice
-A dab of horseradish
Pour beer in a large glass, up to ¾ full. Top off with pureed tomatoes or fresh tomato juice, and stir in a dab of horseradish.
For a non-alcoholic version, substitute the liquor, prosecco, and beer with fresh lemonade, limeade, or seltzer.
Be careful not to be wasteful and overwater your garden or drink too much yourself! When complete, you and your garden will have a healthy dose of summertime love.