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Sue Ryba – Horticulturist

Bertog Landscape Co.

Bringing Visions to Life

Wheeling, Illinois


Classic Mint Mojito


1.5 oz. lime juice (squeezed fresh)

1 tsp. finely granulated sugar

3 mint leaves

2 oz. white rum Club soda or seltzer


Muddle the lime juice with ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar and mint leaves.

Fill the glass about 2/3 with ice and add rum.

Garnish with used lime. Top off with club soda or seltzer.

Strawberry Basil Mocktail


1.5 cups fresh strawberries

4 to 5 fresh basil leaves

12 oz. seltzer (1 can)

1 lime (half juiced, half sliced)


Wash, hull and roughly chop the strawberries.

Cut the lime in half. Slice one half for garnishes. Reserve the other.

Muddle the strawberries, lime juice and basil together using a large mortar and pestle. You can also use a fork or a potato masher. Break the mixture down enough so that it can fit through a straw but will still maintain its texture.

Garnish the glass with a slice of lime and more fresh basil (optional).


To make Strawberry Basil Mocktail for a pitcher, quadruple the ingredients. Follow the instructions to muddle the strawberries, lime and basil. Add the mixture to a large pitcher. Add 2 to 3 cups of crushed ice, lime slices and seltzer. Gently stir before pouring into glasses. Makes 8 cups.

To prepare in advance: Prepare the strawberry mixture. Store it covered in the refrigerator for up to one day. Prepare the drinks just before serving.

Bloody Mary Tomatoes


1 cup vodka

2 tbsp. hot sauce

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 pint cherry tomatoes

Freshly ground black pepper

Celery salt, for seasoning


Combine the vodka, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce in a jar.

Poke a couple holes into each cherry tomato with a toothpick. Place the toothpick through the center of each.

Add the toothpick-ed tomatoes to the vodka mixture. Soak for at least two hours, ideally overnight.

Drain the contents of the jar into a glass. Sprinkle the tomatoes with pepper and celery salt to taste.

Serve immediately.


-Most herbs, a few vegetables and some fruits like strawberries – can be grown in a container, as well as in a raised bed or small garden area.

-Strawberries do well in a small to medium sized container, as do jalapenos and cherry tomatoes. Think about growing cucumbers, bell peppers – even celery – in a larger sized container. Or do what we’ve done here: this one large container is holding several different herbs with plenty of soil space below for the plants’ roots to grow into.

-Fertilizing foods in containers? You can but for the most part it’s not necessary. They essentially need good soil, sun/shade and water. But if you’d like to, you could use a light, organic granular fertilizer specifically for tomatoes, herbs and vegetables. 3 Place it on top of the soil at the base of the plant. If you purchase your herb and vegetable plants from an independent garden center – and many in our area still have them in their stores – read the plant tags for planting and care information.