Monday, January 3, 2011

The Cat's Meow

2007 Perennial Plant of the Year
Nepeta Walker's Low Catmint

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' is the Perennial Plant Association's 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year.

The name of this blue-flowering perennial can be a bit deceiving: it's named for an Irish garden, rather than a low-growing habit. It actually grows about 3 feet tall.
Introduced in 1988, Walker's Low catmint is a long bloomer with blue-violet flowers and attractive grey-green foliage.
This easy-to-grow perennial is drought tolerant once established, and is resistant to most pests and disease problems.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 to 8

Size: Grows 30 to 36 inches (76-90 cm) tall and wide.

Bloom time: Long blooming, begins in May in southern regions and June to July in the north, and continues to flower for much of the season.

Where to grow: Best in full sun, but can tolerate shade in hot climates. Prefers well drained soil and neutral pH.

How to use in flower garden: Makes a good edging plant for perennial borders or herb garden.
If you can't grow lavender as an edger in the flower or herb garden, Walker's Low catmint with its lavender blue flowers makes an attractive substitute.
Care tips: Will bloom continuously throughout the season if sheared back by half after its first weeks of flowering are finished. (Shearing also promotes growth of fresh foliage.)

Other garden qualities: Its soft, grey-green leaves release an attractive aroma when crushed. Attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, but is rabbit and deer resistant.
Companions for Nepeta 'Walker's Low': Combines well with lamb's ears, sage, thyme, lavender and blue ornamental grasses such as blue oat grass and blue fescue.
Other excellent perennial companions include daylilies, coreopsis, peonies, dianthus, foxgloves and bearded iris. A classic English garden pairing is Nepeta 'Walker's Low' with roses


Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ is a member of the Lamiaceae, or mint family. The family is one of the most easily recognized with species having square stems and opposite leaves that are often aromatic. Walker’s Low catmint is a selection in the Faassenii Group of Nepeta. Those catmints, related to Nepeta x faassenii,
are thought to be a hybrid between N. nepetella and N. racemosa. First cited in the literature in 1784, Faaseen’s catmint has proven to be a stalwart garden performer. Mrs. Patricia Taylor selected Walker’s Low in an Irish garden in the 1970s. Thus, its name reflects its origins, rather than (as many gardeners assume) its growth habit. Actually, its height can be up to 36 inches tall, which makes it one of the largest cultivated nepetas.

I have used this cultivar paired with the "Blackfoot Daisy" and Knock Out Roses for a traffic stopping display in several local gardens, and I might add, in full Texas sun! This is a tried and true perennial garden favorite, that will give you months of bloom throughout the Texas summer.
(Information taken in part from the Perennial Plant Association's website)

1 comment:

  1. So Ralph, I am really liking this plant. I love the color and knowing how good it would look with my knock out roses...when and where can I get this and when should it be planted? Since moving back to Texas, my planting seasons are all askewed, but I am re-learning! I think I need a simple chart on when to plant and when to prune things back. Especially since reading your article on sanitizing lawn equipment. Makes me wonder why we lost both miniature magnolia trees when we let a landscaping service move them. They never looked as good once they were moved. They looked "shocked" several months after they were moved, so we took them out. Need to replace them, so any ideas? I'll call you when we are through this cold season and discuss this further...Thanks, Kerri