Love is in the Air
Back in 1978, John Paul Young had a huge disco hit called Love is in the Air. Maybe some of you will remember it- “Love is in the air everywhere I look around, love is in the air every sight and every sound and I don’t know if I’m being foolish, Don’t know if I’m being wise, but it’s something I must believe in, and it’s there when I look in your eyes…” If you need a refresher please look it up on You-tube.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I couldn’t think of anything better to represent this very special day than with Basil. In fact, Basil literally translates into love. This tells me that Basil, not chocolate, is the way to your partner’s heart.
Basil, in its 4000 year plus existence has had quite the reputation. In Greek Mythology for instance, Basil was a medicinal cure for the bite of the half lizard, half dragon called Basilisk. This was a nasty animal, all it had to do was either touch you or breathe on you and it would be certain death, but if you rubbed Basil on yourself before leaving your home it would cure you of the Basilisk’s deadly venom. So in modern times it could be conceived that Basil could also cure other venomous bites and stings. We could ask Harry Potter of course…
The Romans took Basil in another direction. It was thought the only way to get the perfect basil to grow from seed was to “Rant and Rave”, or simply put; just yell all the vulgar things you could at it. In today’s modern world there is so much stress that maybe we should take a page out of the Romans playbook and release a little pressure by yelling our frustrations when growing basil, but don’t blame me if you get hauled off to the mental hospital.
In Italy, Basil became the token of love, is it any wonder that Italy has been known for lovers? Young ladies would tie Basil sprigs in their hair and should a suitor come calling he would know she was available by seeing the fresh basil. Romania took it one step further and declared if a young man accepted a Basil sprig from a virgin, then the couple was considered a certainty for marriage.
Today Basil is used in many different ways from foods to bathes. Basil is commonly used in Tomato sauces, in teas to help with stomach ailments, and even as a fly and mosquito repellant. During one of your famous backyard barbecues this coming summer throw some fresh basil on the coals. It should help with the mosquitoes and think how well your steak and chicken will taste. Finally, if you want a nice relaxing bath (or hot tub) throw some basil leaves in the hot water and just soak it in.
For 2015 Moss Greenhouses is going to carry the following varieties of Basil-
Amethyst- This is a purple Genovese type which grows 16”-20” tall
Genovese- This is a typical Italian Basil and grows 8”-10” tall
Lettuce leaf- This is a fast grower which has a ruffled appearance
Lime- This is a large Genovese type plant which is slightly sweet and grows to 24” tall
Nufar- also known as Sweet Basil also grows to 24” tall
Siam Queen- also known as Thai Basil. This is very spicy and arromatic Basil and grows to 30” tall.
So show you’re perfect someone how much you care by making Basil part of your Valentine’s Day tradition. In the meantime, I can be found singing in the greenhouse. “Love is in the air, oh oh oh, Love is in the air…
Dave Holley is the Director of Operations at Moss Greenhouses and has been in the greenhouse industry for over 27 years.