Tag Archives: nepeta

Tour of the garden – 5/23/17

The Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ are still making a big impact even as they start to decline, especially when absorbing the raindrops.


And still drawing in the critters.

Allium ‘Globemaster’ is in peak form, mixing well with the emerging flowers of Baptisia australis.



Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ is in flower.


Baptisia ‘Carolina Moon’ is in full bloom mode and a bit ahead of Baptisia australis in that regard.


I haven’t written much about Arborvitae ‘Rheingold’ over the years, but patience has paid off as it has rounded into an appealing shape, about 7-8 years in. It sits now at a golden chartreuse and will soon change to a very handsome light green as we head into summer.


Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) is another perennial in full bloom in my garden right now and the drooping branches of the Ninebark ‘Diablo’ shrub add a nice contrast in color.

Nepeta also combines well with the Salvia ‘May Night’ in the background.

Speaking of ‘May Night’, it is a bee magnet.

Lots of activity today. #bee #pollinator #flower #blooms #garden #instagarden #beesofinstagram #flowersofinstagram

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Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’ is bursting in color and only after some serious dead branch clean-up was it presentable. I am leaning towards a harsh prune post-flower to hopefully improve the shape of this shrub. It has been years since I’ve pruned it at all.




Foliage contrast is in full effect with the variegated Diervilla ‘Cool Splash’, Heuchera (Coral Bells) and Monarda (Bee Balm) below.


Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle), Penstemon ‘Husker Red’ (Beard Tongue) and Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ rounding out the tour for today.







Hanging with the bees

One of my favorite things to do is to sit on my front sidewalk amongst the Catmint plants (c’mon, don’t judge) and watch the bees jump from bloom to bloom. It is my own form of meditation.

Here is a sample of my happy place:  

Trying to capture the quick moving bees on camera is a challenge but one I am always trying to perfect:

I’m getting there but I can do better.


Nepeta ‘ Walkers Low’

My last entry touched on those plants that are still holding up this far into the Fall. One of those that is still standing with pride is Catmint (Nepeta) ‘Walker’s Low’.   

This perennial has been a reliable and maintenance free performer since I planted a bunch of them a few years ago. I’m sure many of you are already familiar with this gem, but if not, some factoids for you:

  • The typical size is about 30″ x 36″ so make sure it is given enough room to mature as often the tags on these indicate they are smaller. Each spring I consider moving mine closer together as there appears to be too much space between them

            Only to see them fill in completely later in the season

  • Here in zone 6B, it starts blooming in late spring and will bloom into October if pruned/sheared appropriately. Speaking of which …
  • If sheared by about 2/3 in early summer, ‘Walker’s Low’ will bloom again in late August and the foliage will come back cleaner as well.
  • The blooms are a beautiful blue/violet color 
  • The foliage is a grey/green color and is aromatic if you brush against it. And because of that …
  • It is both deer and rabbit resistant. Mine have never been touched and that is saying something.
  • Nepeta prefers sunny and hot conditions and therefore well draining soil. Fortunately for me, I have mine in the only spot in my entire yard where the soil drains exceptionally well.They are planted in the sandy soil that was added when my walkway was constructed. I have tried these in other not so well draining areas and they have never survived the winter.  
  • Was named the Perennial Plant of the Year in 2007 by the PPA.
  • The cultivar name ‘Walker’s Low’ comes from the name of a garden in England. Do not expect this tough performer to stay “low”. 
  • Was introduced to the public in England in 1988.
  • Prefers full sun but can handle partial shade. I have mine in partial shade and they have performed amazingly well.
  • It is a magnet for bees and the collective humming sound in the summer can’t be topped           
  • Survives in zones 3-8.
  • For design purposes, it looks great if planted underneath rose bushes not only because of the color/texture contrast, but because the foliage conveniently covers the not so great looking lower foliage on the roses. Of course, I swore of roses earlier this summer, so this doesn’t apply to me.
  • For my design purposes, I use these as a ground cover to soften the edges of my front walkway.

  • Walker’s Low’ mixes and matches well with other shrubs/perennials

You like? Me too.

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The Natives are restless

It has become a Mother’s day tradition (OK only for the past three years) at the ONG household. We make Mom breakfast in bed (and the term “make” is a bit of a stretch) and then the kids and I go out for the morning/afternoon to give Mom a truly deserved day off from being all mom-ish. We will go out to lunch and then we head for the Bowman Hill native plant sale in New Hope, PA (click here to read more). I spend the prior week studying their catalog in great detail and I identify which native plants will work for me and I bring that list with me. Then the spending spree begins and I purchase a ton of plants I had never heard of before. Below is a photo of everything I bought earlier today;        

What are native plants and why should you buy them? Glad you asked … school is in session (and my apologies to all those who know this already).

Native plants are those plants that grow naturally in your particular region and have grown there for a long period of time. They thrive under your region’s conditions and require very little maintenance. Here are some reasons why you should go native already:
  • As previously mentioned, these plants are way low maintenance since they have existed in the wild for a long period of time without any special TLC.
  • Very little water is required in allowing these guys to thrive. Umm … hello … good thing! 
  • Natives have developed natural resistance to diseases and insects which make them even more appealing.
  • By planting native, you are keeping with the natural and unique look of your area and that will keep your garden from looking  so cookie-cutter.
  • In my simple words – you keep shit the way it is supposed to be. The whole balance of nature is not disrupted and you my friend will have good karma. The wildlife will get what they need and keep that whole circle of life thing going.

Now to keep it real, I don’t only plant native. There are just too many non-natives that rock. But by educating yourself on what the native plants are in your region, you may find that there is a native plant that will serve the same purpose, or give you the look and feel you are going for with a non-native. 

Here are some native plants I have purchased in the past that are absolutely kicking butt today:
Lobelia Siphilitica
Amsonia Tabernaemontana
Chelone Glabra
Phlox Paniculata 
Aster (Purple Dome)
Chasmanthium Latifolium (Northern Sea Oats)
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
OK … enough of the preaching … for your viewing pleasure here are some updated photos from the garden this afternoon:  

Peonies, Campanulas, and Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’.

Super blooms on the Ninebark ‘Summer Wine’.

Cascading branches on the same Ninebark.

Another view of a Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’.

Bloom on the Astilbe ‘Deutschland’.

Nepeta (Catmint) in near full bloom.

Close up shot of the Catmint blooms.

Nice big bud forming on the Iris ‘Snow Queen’. 

The buds are forming on the Camassia Esculenta. It worked … it friggin worked … successful bulbs!  

Amsonia is blooming for the first time. Loooove this native (wait until you see photos of the yellow fall color).

The ornamental grasses (Panicum) I butchered/divided into three a few weeks ago are all thriving. Tough little bastards.

I don’t do it enough … here are some Peony blooms brought indoors.

That’s all folks. If you’re reading this far down – thank you.