i have always loved basil. it smells great, looks good, and is so easy to grow. for the past few years, i've planted sweet basil every spring. in astoria, i had it in a little pot on my windowsill. two years ago, i had a whole mess of it in the yard. i thought that i would just do the same this year...that is until i discovered basil trees. hhh and i were just strolling along manhattan avenue in greenpoint (he in search of records, me in search of something delicious) when i saw a row of small green planters topped by airy, leafy spheres. from far away, it almost looked like tiny boxwood. i ran inside the store to ask what they were, and the shopkeeper told me it was "tree basil." i scoffed and said, "that's not basil!" he said, "smell it. it's basil."
i've had the basil tree for a few weeks now, and keep it in the bedroom (where there's good southern light). it smells so good. today, i finally looked it up on the internet to see what the deal is. apparently basil trees are the grafted result of two strains of basil - one for trunk sturdiness and another Greek variety for tastiness. and amazingly, it's perennial and will live for up to five years. that means no annual replanting! (you do still have to bring it inside when it gets too cold out though.) it's even won prizes and stuff. i'm a fan.
but don't worry, sweet basil. there's room for more than one basil on carroll street.