English Cottage Gardening – Bees Love Nepeta And So Do I

I love Nepeta aka catmint!  It’s also a favorite of honey bees and other pollinators. It’s deer resistant too!

Below one of my ever-present fluffy Bumbles enjoys a tasty snack…

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It is a beautiful plant to use in a border. Gertrude Jekyll wrote “it is a plant that can hardly be overpraised.”

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I find catmint easier to grow than lavender. If you cut it back after first bloom, it will bloom again just as vigorously.

My favorite cultivar is Walker’s Low which was the 2007 Perennial of the Year. The name, Walker’s Low, does not refer to the size of the plant, but to a garden in England.

Plant some catmint this summer. Your buzzing friends will thank you!

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New English Garden Bee Plants – “Purrsian Blue” Nepeta

New Nepeta

I love nepeta aka catmint, and this new variety looks like a winner! It’s available from Wayside Gardens.

Bees love catmint, but so do cats. By the end of the summer, all my catmint is cat-shaped in the middle.

According to Wayside Gardens, ‘Purrsian Blue’ is the solution! Apparently, it is “flop-proof”!

Naturally rounded, this fragrant little plant covers itself in bright blue blooms from the first hint of warm summer weather until autumn arrives. The flowers themselves are periwinkle-blue, surrounded by a darker violet calyx. Showy, intensely bright, and so profuse, they really pop in the perennial border or herb garden!

Bees and other pollinators are drawn to ‘Purrsian Blue’ for its nectar, while rabbits, deer, and other nibbling creatures avoid it because of its fragrance. I will definitely be ordering this for my borders!

Covering Old Ground

Not that anyone has asked me, but I thought I would weigh in on my personal choices of ground cover/underplanting.

I am a traditionalist.  I like four plants for covering those awkward spaces under roses, hydrangea and other flowering shrubs.

My number one choice is Nepeta, specifically Walkers’ Low.  I love this plant. It is hearty, beautiful, fragrant and voluminous.  Its only downside is that if you have cats, they like to nap right in the middle of them. It’s also known as catmint.

Nepeta Walkers Low and Pink Roses

My second choice is hosta.  There are so many smaller cultivars these days, and they are  mostly all fabulous.

Hosta Underplanting

My third choice is stachys, or lambs ears.  They add texture and a beautiful grey color that blends with everything.

Lambs Ears Underplanting

My fourth choice is lavender.  It’s a bit hard to get started, but once it gets going, it is just about perfect.

Lavender and Boxwood

And they are all great bee plants!

Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – Catmint (Nepeta x Faassenii)

Both bees and cats simply adore catmint aka Nepeta.

Bee Enjoying the Catmint

Cat Enjoying the Catmint

It is a beautiful plant to use in a border.  Gertrude Jekyll wrote “it is a plant that can hardly be overpraised.”

Beautiful Use of Catmint

Catmint in the Border

I find catmint easier to grow than lavender and sage.  If you cut it back after first bloom, it will bloom again just as vigorously.

My favorite cultivar is Walker’s Low, which was the 2007 Perennial of the Year.

Walker's Low

The name, Walker’s Low, does not refer to the size of the plant, but to a garden in England.

Plant some catmint this summer.  Your bees will thank you!  And also the neighborhood cats…

P.S.  One of my followers suggested I point out that catmint is deer-resistant!