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A summer haircut


A few weeks ago, Debbie at A Garden of Possibilities wrote about her favorite reblooming perennials.  Nepeta (i.e. catmint) didn’t make her list, but it tops mine.

I’ve always loved lavender-lined paths, but I’ve had no luck whatsoever growing lavender, so I lined part of the path near the patio with nepeta. It shares many of the same attributes that lavender has. It has a wonderful scent that wafts through the air when you brush against it. Its blue flowers grow on taller stems, not unlike lavender, and its blueish-gray foliage is a nice contrast to much of the bright green in the garden.

It has the added benefit of flowering almost nonstop during summer. I planted ‘Dropmore hybrid’ along the path, which is a shorter variety of nepeta (some get quite tall and a bit floppy) and I keep the height even further in check by trimming it off early in the season. This delays the first blooming a bit, but only by a week or so. From then on, I let it bloom, trim it back and let it bloom again.

Although the blooms hadn’t faded yet, it was getting a tad leggy so last weekend I gave it its second haircut of the summer. It’s always interesting cutting back the nepeta because it is always buzzing. Literally. The bees adore this plant so its constantly covered. I have no fear though because they are far too busy doing their work to mind me.

Here’s what it looked like before (don’t you love how I can’t manage to pick up my wetsuit boot for the photo? You know me … keeping it real):

And here’s the enormous pile of trimmings:

And here it is spruced up and ready to bloom again. I did this on July 15, so it will be interesting to watch to see how long it is before it blooms again.

It is kind of nice to be able to walk down the path (which is extra wide) without the nepeta attacking your ankles. I suppose the wise thing would have been to plant them farther from the edge so that even when they are in their full glory they just overlap the edge a bit.

4 Responses

  1. It looks great after the trim and should be blooming again shortly if the weather stays nice. That is a huge pile of scraps though! Good thing you live in the country and can compost that all.

  2. My lavender was looking pretty sorry, so I cut it back hoping that it would bounce back this summer. The next day, it was already growing and looking better. A week later it is blooming again. Maybe they just like the extreme heat down here!

  3. I have Walker's Low nepeta but it is too tall for me and reseeds too much. I put it in the traffic island but this summer may have killed it. just can't water enough to keep stuff going in the middle of the street planted in shallow soil.

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