Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nepeta

Nepeta deserves a post all its own. There isn't a harder working plant in my garden. It performs in heavy clay and in the gravel garden in horrible, dry conditions. I don't divide it often so some of my clumps are almost 4 feet in width but it's easy to shear back if it gets out of bounds. It self seeds a little in my garden. I have clumps between the stones in my wall which is very attractive. Self seeding isn't a problem and I actually wish it would seed more. Nepeta smothers any weeds that come within its reach so it makes my life a lot easier.

It begins blooming about mid-spring and continues all summer, all the while alive with bees and cabbage butterflies. A perfect plant for concealing the ugly feet of rose bushes, hiding the remains of spring bulbs or cascading over walls. I wouldn't be without its pools of hazy blue in my gardens.

The photos below are Walkers Low.











I can identify with Donna Carroll Batton, the author of this cute poem.

That Time Again

The floors need scrubbing, waxing too
This quick, once-over, just won't do

Quickly rushed through wash and dry
The ironing is piled high

The dinner's late, half-cooked again
I haven't baked since who knows when

The dust is gathering 'neath the bed
And cobwebs dangle overhead

By now you think I'm one, big flop
Among the ranks of pail and mop

But this just happens once a year
When garden planting time is here


42 comments:

Sherri said...

I have always loved Nepeta. I had it growing on our farm in NJ and I even had people stop by and ask what it was! What a great plant! Love the poem too!

Beth said...

Hi Marnie:
I like my Walkers Low but it's getting SO invasive. I've already sheared it twice this spring and I have given so much of it away as it gets so big so fast. It's a very nice plant in the landscape but it has gotten to be high maintenance - at least for me.

JC said...

I could use a couple of those in my front yard ...

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Hi Marnie, I still haven't put any nepata in, and had thought about it earlier. Just haven't gotten around to it! If I see any while I'm out I'll pick up a couple...yes, it does have so many great qualities and looks especially nice in your garden;-) Cute poem, too! Jan

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Hi Marnie, I still haven't put any nepata in, and had thought about it earlier. Just haven't gotten around to it! If I see any while I'm out I'll pick up a couple...yes, it does have so many great qualities and looks especially nice in your garden;-) Cute poem, too! Jan

tina said...

So glad you dedicated a post to nepeta all of its own. This is the first year I've noticed it so much and I just love it. I will have to look for seedlings. As it is I've been busy moving it around to fill in areas. It does okay in part shade too. Your gardens are SO pretty! And love the poem. This is so true of me-except it is about all year. I can always find an excuse not to do housework. Poor suffering family.

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie,
I love Nepeta too.I have it at the edge of my little woods. It is around one of my statues. It is my first year for it...do I cut it back at all, to keep it blooming during the summer or just let it go?

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

You're so right about nepeta!

I probably grow too much of it. If my husband had his way, our entire garden would be nepeta, lavender and salvia!

Great post!
Cameron

Rosey Pollen said...

I have so much Nepeta since it self-sows freely up here. The hummingbirds are big fans. I have tried getting pictures of the hummers but they are too quick. I would need to upgrade my camera.
My house is a mess, I can relate to that poem. I start to feel guilty and then I just go outside and the guilt melts away when I see my garden flourishing. Besides, my season is so short, I have to be outside every waking moment!

Kathleen said...

I love it with the rock wall! That really makes a beautiful photo. I don't have any Nepeta in my garden either. :-(
Wonder why & where I could add some? I'll have to think. The purple looks great combined with the orange in your last photo. That garden poem could not be more true. The inside of my house is being sadly neglected and my dinners of late are nothing short of pathetic!

Jamie and Randy said...

I've never heard of it before, but I like it. I also love your rock border. I have a thing for stones.--Randy

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I really must try Nepeta again. I haven't had luck with it so far. I have a bit more sun in my garden now so maybe it will grow for me. I love that poem. It sure applies here. Of course I don't need much of an excuse to not do anything inside. Ha

Gail said...

I totally agree, it does deserve its own post! It sprawls in my garden, so planting it on the edge it flops nicely over the rocks.It's one of those blues that goes with so many other colors without being overwhelming. It looks wonderful with the companions you've planted it among and on the rock wall. gail

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sherri, I wonder if it would do well potted in your new garden.

Beth, I've heard other people say the same thing. I wish it reseeded here. I might consider replacing some lawn with nepeta. Save myself some mowing.

Hi JC, I'll bet if you have neighbors who grow it they would be happy to share.

Hi Tina, I haven't tried it in shady conditions. I had to move mine out of some places where the heavy clay was holding it back.

Balisha, mine blooms very heavily in the spring but then continues with a lighter bloom all summer. Many people do cut it back, usually I do not. If you do keep it watered thru hot dry periods.

Marnie

BeadedTail said...

I've never heard of that plant but it sure looks like something I need to find out more about! I love learning so much about gardening from you - thank you so much!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cameron, I can understand where you husband is coming from. Replacing lawn grass with nepeta is looking like a good option to me;)

Rosey Pollen, I agree. Heavy work outdoors somehow seems lighter than housework.

Kathleen, it it is happy it can take up a good sized area. I've gotten pretty good at completely ignoring housework and the deli makes a better dinner than I do;)

Randy, I like stones and drift wood in the garden. If adds a more natural look.

Lisa, I understand. I have wonderful ability to tune out household chores.

Gail I agree. Nepeta is a muted blue that creates a lovely background for other plants.

Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

BeadedTail, this isn't the same as the catnip kitties love. Mine totally ignore nepata but love the wild mint which has white blooms.

Marnie

erin said...

Hi there! I have just visited your blog for the first time. I love Nepeta, especially as a substitute for lavender! Coincidentaly, I recently featured a garden on my blog where the owner has used tons of it .......and it is fabulous. Check it out! Erin

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I too love 'Walker's Low' as do my cats. Does Miss B have no comment to share on it? Also, They're a long bloomer!! I too wish they would spread more.

walk2write said...

I have finally managed to get some kind of lavender to survive here (one plant is "Grosso," and I can't remember the other variety) so maybe the Nepeta would do all right. Or is suffocating heat and humidity a limiting factor? I love that poem, and I think another version should be written for the guilt-ridden blogger. Should we tap TC the Write Poet for the honor since he probably can't identify with the hausfrau angst but certainly knows about blogging/gardening conflicts? Your garden is lovely, by the way.

joey said...

Thanks for the tip, Marnie. I have a gravel garden at the lake where hazy blue pools of nepeta would be perfect! Aw yes, the poem ... spent 2 hours ironing yesterday!

sweet bay said...

The Nepeta looks lovely tumbling down over the stones. What is the sedum in the pot?

Susie said...

Very cute poem. I too can relate.

Your nepeta is very pretty. I like it flowing over the rocks.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

What a lovely plant. It reminds me of Russian Sage. Your choice of poetry made me chuckle--it's just too true!

Rose said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Marnie! I can't think of another plant that is so easy to care for, looks good all season long, and is so attractive to the bees. And the poet must be describing me:)

Darla said...

I LOVE that poem and can relate!! Your photos are stunning, that plant is a must have for me, I just wrote it's name down...

Dog_geek said...

I could use some of that to fill in a few spots - it looks great next to the rock wall, and we have a rock wall around some of our beds. I haven't seen it around here, though... maybe I would have to order it from somewhere.

The poem is perfect, too - my house is certainly suffering from the time we are spending outside in the gardens!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Erin, I did visit your blog. Loved the window boxes your friend planted. Enjoyed reading all the varied subjects on your pages.

Hi Monica, my cats ignore nepeta. I've never had one show the least interest. They do love the wild mint.

Walk2write, I'm not sure how it would do in Florida. I know lavender will not overwinter in my garden. Every spring I plant some type of lavender and every winter it dies.

Hi Joey, your a better housekeeper than I am. If it has to be ironed, it doesn't belong in my closet.

SweetBay, I believe the sedum is Kamtschaticum sedum which is a trailing variety.

Hi Susie, I like it over and among the rocks too.

Marnie

ShySongbird said...

I've never grown Nepeta, it looks like a good choice, I must check it out.

The blooms on your previous post are breathtaking, really beautiful! The Paeonies with the raindrops are lovely and the Irises too. As for Miss B's latest report, I loved it what a f(el)ine reporter she is ;) and she loves a good scandal, great stuff.

I do love your blog Marnie!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Morning Glories, my Russian sage is more upright but it too tends to sprawl a little.

Hi Rose, I'm so glad to find that we all tend to let housework slip a little over the spring and summer months. I thought maybe I was the only one;)

Hi Darla, hope it does well in Florida.

Hi DogGeek, if it isn't commonly for sale in your local nurseries, maybe it doesn't do well in your heat. I'm just not sure.

Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Songbird, if nepeta is available in your area it would be a good choice for your garden. The bees absolutely love it and some butterflies too. It does need good drainage and I think you have much more rain there than we do.
Marnie

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I also love Nepeta. It is one of the best plants in my garden. Low care, beautiful. Shear it when it gets too leggy and back it comes. Thanks for the profile and the poem. It made me smile.~~Dee

Cheryl said...

Hi Marnie....one of my all time favourites....I would not be without nepeta ..... it does everything I want and more. I have it dotted all around the garden, and bees, as you say, love it....

Love the poem.....totally understand it......totally me......

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Just got a "Walkers low" !
Hope mine does as well as yours.
It will only get about 5 to 6 hours full sun.

Sweet Repose said...

I hope you survived the storms this afternoon, my beautiful corn and sunflower patch is flat, the winds wiped it all out, plus flattened my snow-pea vines, blew them right off the fence...but I think tomorrow I'm gonna try and find some tomato plants to replant...wish me luck!

Good luck with the storms!

TC said...

We've had a clump of Nepeta 'Walker's Low' for two years now. This year it really creeped and we expect a big leap next year. It's doin marvelous and I'm seriously considering spots for more of this variety.

As for W2W's suggestion that I write a different version of "That Time Again," well, I'll have to give it some thought. ;~)

Kerri said...

I just bought a pot of Nepeta and can't wait until I have a plant as big as yours. You've given me some ideas about what to plant it with. It does look lovely sprawling over the rocks, and also with the sedum. I have that same yellow sedum blooming now.
Love the poem. I can so relate! It's me to a "T" :)

Sue said...

I have 3 catmint plants. The one that spread the most for a few years died back some, but it's still a nice sized clump that is blooming nicely.

I cut mine back by about a third after the blooms fade, and then they grow and bloom again. I'm thinking I cut them back later in the season after the next flush of blooms, as well.

oldcrow61 said...

A very nice plant. I've taken note of the name so I can look for some.

Connie said...

I am a huge fan of Catmint. I have it growing all along the edges of my flowerbeds alongside the house, where the eaves keep the rain off the soil and it stays very dry. It thrives there and makes a nice backdrop for everything else.

marmee said...

marnie,

i haven't grown nepeta before but sounds like i need to try it...i love the way it is wandering in and around your stone wall.
your peonies are lovely so glad they are finally blooming for you...ours are but a memory until next year.

Josie said...

Molto d'effetto questa nepeta!!
E' facile da riprodurre da talea?