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Minter: For Father's Day, get dad an herb garden for BBQ meals

Herb gardens can have basil, sage, thyme, oregano and mint — perfect for dad as he barbecues meals.
Herb Planter
A herb planter

The following column was submitted to the Tri-City News from Brian Minter — master gardener, best-selling author, Order of Canada recipient and co-owner of Minter Country Garden Store.

How about some unique ideas for the Dads who have a bit of a green thumb?

Because small space living can be a challenge today for many gardeners, container gardening on the patio is becoming evermore trendy.

Fortunately, food gardening has adapted nicely to small spaces with great results. For example, blueberries, like the combination of three varieties grown together, are fun, delicious, self-pollinating and can be grown successfully in a container.

For more immediate enjoyment, container grown strawberries and tomatoes are very popular. Everbearing strawberries, grown in hanging baskets or tubs, can be enjoyed now and all summer long. ‘Tumbler’ and ‘Tumbling Tom’ tomatoes are sweet, taste great and fit nicely in pots or baskets.

Many Dads are, surprisingly, great barbecue chefs, and herb gardens containing various basils, like the Thai and lemon varieties, and herbs, like sage, thyme, oregano and mints, will add great flavour to his culinary creations. Infused drinks are big news too, and lemon verbena, ‘Mojito’ mint and lavenders lead the way in adding depth and flavour to cool summer sippings.

Fruit trees are the new wave of small space trees that can be grown either against a fence or can be the fence. Dad could grow delicious apples, plums, pears and Asian pears. Citrus, too, are hot right now and fragrant outdoor lemons, oranges and limes are kind of cool. Exotics, like Asian persimmons, quince, almonds, tea plants, figs and self-fertile kiwis, are very much mainstream today.

Dad might enjoy growing a bonsai plant as they have become a lot simpler these days with the advent of the indoor Ficus microcarpa. It’s a stunningly twisted, gnarled ficus that is easy to grow indoors.

Something living and growing that adds value by accessorizing a meal, flavouring a drink or adding an exotic touch is right on trend for what many of today’s Dads love!

A gift card for his favourite garden hangout is always a welcome gift — he’ll enjoy picking up that special tree, shrub or rose that he’s had his eye on.