Species: Nepeta x faassenii
Common names: garden catmint and Faassen’s catnip Swedish name: kantnepeta
Nepeta is a genus with about 250 species of flowering plants commonly known as catmints. It is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and has also naturalized in North America. Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. Nepeta plants are usually aromatic in foliage and flowers. The name catmint or catnip the plants got because of the effect some members of this group have on house cats. The nepetalactone contained in some Nepeta species binds to the olfactory receptors of cats, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. This is why cat toys often have dried catnip inside. Some catmint species are used in herbal medicine for their mild sedative effect on humans. Nepeta attracts pollinators, such as honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Making them suitable for wildlife gardens.
Description: Nepeta x faassenii is a bushy perennial forming a cluster of ascending stems bearing grey-green leaves and terminal whorls of light violet-blue flowers in summer and early autumn. Nepeta x faassenii is cultivated for its attractive aromatic foliage and masses of blue flowers, as groundcover, border edging, or in pots or rock gardens. It is drought tolerant, and can be deer resistant. Numerous cultivars are available in the trade. Some varieties have white or pink flowers. My favorite, which I often use, is ‘Walker´s Low’.
How to grow: Nepeta x faassenii prefers a well-drained chalky soil in full sun. It tolerates partial shade but have a tendency to lose its steadiness. It will grow in nutrient-poor and dry soils. Continued blooming is encouraged by deadheading spent flowers. Trim after flowering to keep plants compact and to encourage a second flowering. Nepeta x faassenii is easy to maintain and is hardy. It is lovely as a border/edging plant especially against hard materials, like paths and cliffs. Propagation by division or cuttings.
Rock and gravel gardens
When we think of a garden or garden bed most of us picture something like these:
But there are many ways a garden can look like or a garden bed can be built. In my previous post K for Kolkwitzia I wrote about garden design and how to arrange a garden bed. I guess some of you assumed I only meant gardens like the above. But there are a great variety among gardens. One of my favorite garden styles is a natural, gravel and rock garden. These are useful in harsh, dry or windy environments with little rainfall. They may look something like these:
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