The time is ripe: Mark Hix makes summer last a little longer with these refreshing melon recipes

I've been to the South of France twice in the last month or so and I have become pretty hooked on the various types of melon on offer. When melons are perfectly, naturally ripened in the sun, in terms of their flavour and texture they can be worlds apart from some of the sad specimens that grace our supermarket shelves over here, which have probably ripened in a dark cooler for months before hitting the shelves. A melon is one of those great fruits that you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and if you keep it in a coolbox it makes a refreshing chilled snack. It can be hard to tell quite how good your melon is going to be, but smell is often the best indication, so have a good sniff before you buy.

Melon salad with mint syrup

Serves 4

One Minute With: Diana Evans

Imagine That (PG)

In which Eddie Murphy plays a stockbroker distracted from making his mint by a seven-year-old daughter (Yara Shahidi) who won't give up her security blanket (she lets out a piercing scream every time it's taken from her grasp).

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Serves 6

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Furnishing a herb garden is very much like furnishing a house. You need the big, permanent pieces of furniture, but you also need a few more evanescent things to add variety. Jekka McVicar, Queen of the Herbs, has put together an excellent Herb Starter Kit for gardeners who need guidance. She includes shrubby stalwarts such as 'Hidcote' lavender, rosemary, purple sage and the pretty little variegated thyme 'Silver Posie' among perennials such as chives, bronze fennel, pale green apple mint, wild strawberry and oregano. Planted together with parsley (a biennial) that would make a good-looking patch.

Grilled salmon with crushed pea mayonnaise

Serves 4

Salad days - the IoS schools gardening campaign

Our schoolkids are getting their hands dirty. Now, for home growers, Emma Townshend has devised a calendar to guide you from packet to plate. Yum!

Grilled lamb chump chop with cucumber and mint

Serves 4

Sardines with mint anchovy and chilli

Serves 4

Herb your enthusiasm: Meet the expert herbalist who knows exactly what thyme it is

Jekka McVicar is a bit of a legend: admirers talk of her 60 RHS gold medals; of the day Heston Blumenthal nibbled half of her stock in one visit; how she serves her staff their morning coffee with home-made meringues flavoured with her own mint and caraway seed...

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