Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’
Andrea Bellamy |

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The Perennial Plant Association has awarded Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Zones 3-8) the title of Perennial Plant of the Year for 2007. Named after its origins, not its growth habit, Walker’s Low catmint has silver-green crinkled foliage and a profusion of long-blooming, deep lavender-blue flowers. It’s low maintenance and aromatic, and supposedly disease- and pest-free.

I wonder – do they count cats as pests? Don’t get me wrong – I’m a cat lover and devoted mother of one (she’s sitting on my desk right now, actually, as she thinks she’s my managing editor) – but anytime I’ve planted any variety of nepeta, the neighbourhood cats turn my garden into a frat party! They roll on it, eat it, sleep in it… and just generally get high.

A few years ago, I came home with a tiny Nepeta faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant.’ Not ten minutes into the ground, the plant was suffering from the advances of the local cat posse. Not one to stand guard with a spray bottle, I caged the new plant in with a overturned wire basket and staked it down (since it is apparently just the very young plants that attract cats). Once the plant was established, I thought, I’d remove the cage and enjoy the flowers.

I came home the next day to find Jordie, a big black and white tom, totally stoned, inside the cage. He was on his back, legs slack and spread-eagled. I would say he was lounging, except the cage was smaller than he was so it was rather like he’d wedged himself in and then passed out. I wish I had a photo. God, it was infuriating. And cute, nonetheless. That was the last time I planted nepeta.

Photo via Walter’s Gardens.



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