Catmint and Other Blues

Walker's Low catkin in the entrance garden
Walker’s Low catmint in the entrance garden

It’s been almost a year since I removed the Pana rhododendrons from the entrance garden and planted Walker’s Low catmint.  That filled in nicely, and, while I knew the Walker’s Low wasn’t really low, I was not prepared for the wonderful blue spires that greet me every time I come home.  It is taller now than the three-foot cat statue that sits in the middle of that bed.

Catmint, or Nepeta, is thought to have been named after the Roman city Nepeti where people used it as an insect repellent and brewed it for tea.  It is a relative of catnip, but is far easier to manage and far more attractive.  It has many of the same cat attracting qualities as catnip and, in fact, my cats love it.  When the Cool Cat catmint in the Secret Garden is first greening up in the spring, Callie likes to lounge underneath it and chew any leaves that are within nibbling distance.  Kittens have to mature into a reaction to catnip and catmint, so Moe didn’t take any interest in it until he was about nine months old.  But his first reaction was intense.  He couldn’t stop drooling and the fur on his face was saturated.  Both cats like to eat catmint and rolling in it seems to provide an additional pleasure.

I’m now in the process of planting more catmint under the sunroom window and off the kitchen.  And the replanted bed right outside the Secret Garden already has a border of catmint.

The catmint isn’t the only thing “bluing” in the gardens.  The clematis by the back door is a lovely tumble of saucer sized flower.  I wish I could remember the name of this clematis.  I suspect the tag is lurking in the various garden books I try to maintain, but I’m too lazy to find it.  In the Secret Garden an uninvited guest has popped up in the daylily bed.  I suspected it was an allium and, yes it is–Persian Star.  I’ve always meant to plant allium, so I guess the garden fairies have acted on that intent.  The Blue Ice amsonia is in full bloom.

While prowling through a garden center I found a lovely annual that I first thought was some sort of rose.  But it’s Lisianthus.  I bought three of them and clumped them together in the nook outside the sunroom and dining room.  On the same trip, I found this gorgeous morning glory.  Since the Sweet Autumn clematis did, indeed, fall victim to our hard winter, I bout two of these to fill in while the new Sweet Autumn gets started.

Morning Glory
Morning Glory
Lisianthus
Lisianthus
Persian Star allium
Persian Star allium
Blue Ice Amsonia
Blue Ice Amsonia
Clematis by the back door
Clematis by the back door

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