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Ocimum 'Pesto Perpetuo' Overseas

This autumn found Pierre and me traveling to Baden-Baden, Germany to attend the International Stauden Union (ISU) Congress. The ISU is an international perennial conference comprised of growers of hardy plants from the United States, Europe, Canada and Argentina. The 2010 attendees were from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S.

The four days of non-stop activities included touring a number of nurseries, garden centers, municipal plantings, large estates and castles and their gardens. Visits to local places of interest were also included. It was in the city of Freiburg while enjoying a casual stroll through their farmers market that we spied one of Sunny Borders own introductions, Ocimum x citriodorum 'Pesto Perpetuo'. There it was amongst a large selection of herbs. I was so excited to see one of our own introductions offered for sale in Germany.

Here’s a picture of me along with delegates from the ISU.  I’m explaining that this basil is one of our own introductions and going into detail about it's finer points.

Some key points included the fact that it was the first variegated basil on the market and that it does not go to flower quickly, lasting longer without bolting. In addition, we mentioned that it is very easy-to-grow and vigorous, reaching 36-48 inches tall in a single season and that it makes a beautiful hedge if planted in a row, while also producing wonderfully flavored leaves lending themselves to eating fresh or cooking.

Later in the trip, after ISU was over, Pierre and I traveled to Denmark to visit with his family. Weren’t we delighted to again find 'Pesto Perpetuo' in the European retail market; this time at a small greenhouse that grows herbs and vegetables for the local community.

Here’s a picture of Pierre holding 'Pesto Perpetuo' in that greenhouse and another picture as it was offered for sale there.

If you haven’t tried this wonderful variegated basil, you really owe it to yourself to do so. For starters, try it in Pierre’s Own Caprese Salad shown below – Enjoy!

Pierre’s Own Caprese salad
3 vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced ¼” thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into ¼” thick slices
1 large bunch of fresh Pesto Perpetuo
basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt & pepper
Layer a slice of tomato with a slice of mozzarella cheese using equal number of slices of each. Garnish with ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ basil leaves. Drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil. Add freshly ground salt & pepper to taste.