about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

catmint


I have been asked why I identify myself as catmint. Well – there are a few reasons I chose this plant out of all the others in my garden.

Firstly, I love the name. It has a rhythm I find pleasing, and I like the fact that it includes an animal name as well as a plant name. Dogwood would have been a more logical choice because I do prefer dogs to cats, but I went with catmint.

Secondly, I cannot praise the charms of this plant enough. It’s one of the most generous, trouble-free, undemanding inhabitants of my garden. It doesn’t mind if it’s in shade or sun, it still grows and flowers. It absolutely thrives on whatever water comes from the sky once it is established which usually takes about 5 minutes.

It’s a perennial - it does die back in winter and likes a haircut. I have seen it with white coloured flowers but I only have the mauvey-blue shade. It comes in different sizes too – some lower, some taller. It works as a filler or for edging, and associates beautifully with lots of cottagey plants.

It doesn’t need persuading to grow, rather it requires cutting back and dividing and moving around – that’s what I meant when I called it generous. Its botanical name is Nepeta and it is sometimes called Catnip. It has a distinctive slightly pungent smell, which I love, and soft greyish leaves.

7 comments:

  1. I think that must be Nepeta cataria. I agree with you, if my cat will leave it alone long enough to grow it is very useful in the garden. It is also attractive to bees, butterflies and some birds. Not a bad plant to name yourself after at all.

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  2. I think it a purrrrrrfect signature plant to identify yourself with! I added the link to my sidebar too. Hope you don't mind. I am so NOT supposed to be blogging but am good at keeping up with 'housekeeping' things and hubby won't know. So gotta go...Merry Christmas again!

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  3. I'm a huge fan of catnip (I think of catmint as Nepeta mussini, which I have grown less of. But that's the thing about common names--). I like that you have chosen a common, hardworking plant that has survived because people find it so useful, tasty, and easy to grow. Plus all the other advantages cited above!

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  4. I saw your comment about the crow on another blog and I had to follow it over here. I had such a good laugh over it .. your poor hubby gets the creeps from it ? LOL .. I think it is just curiosity and perhaps a little naughtiness on the part of the crow ? : )
    Love the name too ! I am a cat person so it would have been fun for me .. darn !! LOL
    I love Nepeta .. I have all sorts of it .. I put in 3 Walker's Low last year and they are wonderful .. they don't need pampering even in drought conditions .. so YES !! Catmint is a very cool plant and name .. Bravo !!

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  5. I like your name, and the way you described the plant, I'm sure it's lovely:) I've seen it but have never had it in my garden. I will keep it in mind for the spring when I do some planting...can't wait 'til then! Jan

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  6. Hermes, GardenJoy and Pomona, thank you for your encouraging words and helping me to identify what catmint it may be, I used to be quite up with the botanical names, but recently have got quite slack, not to mention vague.
    Tina,glad you snuck in your comment in between housekeeping stuff.
    Jan, I look forward to your spring too to hear how you get on with planting catmint as a new experience.
    GardenJoy, I appreciate your laughter, and guess I shouldn't have taken him to see Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds many years ago.

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  7. Seems good enough reason as any to choose a name. Someone had a "what is your signiture plant" posting earlier this year, I chose Sunflower...for a lot of the same, sturdy reasons.

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