Tag Archives: nepeta

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2012

Again I am joining Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). I do not have deep or wide vistas where foliage is the main highlight, but will concentrate on the foliage of individual plants. Surprisingly some of the foliage in my garden appears nearly as it did in spring.

Aquilegia canadensis  and Monarda didyma

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) bloomed in mid-April and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) began the end of May. Both of these were cut back after blooming and Monarda has rebloomed in a few places. Here, grouped into bright- green triplets, the lobed leaves of Aquilegia have regrown into mounds of soft foliage through which opposite-facing and coarser-textured leaves of Monarda emerge on square stems. At the top of this image seed pods of Clematis (Spider Flower) are a clue that it is indeed August, rather than early spring.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Stachys byzantina and Achillea filipendulina

I pulled up lots of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) during the summer and was more careful than usual to remove flowers this year before it could set seed.  But here is Lamb’s Ear biding its time and sitting next to another rather aggressive grower, a dwarf Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow). The soft, hairy-textured silvery leaves of Lamb’s Ear contrast with the delicate fern-like leaves of this Yarrow.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

This Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) spills out-of-bounds to soften the edge between the lawn and one section of the northeast border. The spear-shaped leaves are a pleasant grayish-green in color and are fairly aromatic.

I have trimmed this back several times this summer and while not evident here, it continues to form lavender-blue blossoms, though not as vigorously as when it first bloomed in early May. Another large mound of Nepeta, planted in the middle of this same border has been invisible most of the summer. It is surrounded by Echinacea and other taller plants and is essentially lost from view. I plan to relocate it toward the front of the borders where it can be seen and appreciated.

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

By mid-March Artemisia was forming slivery-green foliage that has added interest and contrast all summer. It flowered for several weeks from mid-to-late-June, after which I cut it back. The base of the plant is yellowing and looks a bit scraggly still, but these fresh new leaves are fine.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Unlike many of the plants mentioned so far, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is one that has not already peaked this year and it is preparing to bloom. Its pale green, waxy-textured foliage is an interesting contrast to the other plants in the garden. This is the first time in many years this Sedum has been so poised and ready to make a statement in the fall. I attribute that to the plentiful rains during most of this summer.

Tanacetum vulgare and Salvia guaranitica

The foliage of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) has an even stronger fern-like quality than the Achillea. This is another rather tough-rooted spreader, but I have managed to contain it fairly well recently. Here it brightens up a dark corner of the border, along with leaves of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Each time I pass the yellow flowers with green centers of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes,’ the strong shape and color of its leaves inevitably draw my attention. This leaf measures 10-by-7 inches.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Iberis sempervirens

Some plants in the Meditation Circle were chosen to withstand the hot, dry summers we have experienced in recent years. It is hard to prepare for every contingency. Though hot, this is a surprisingly wet summer that has improved the behavior of some plants and hurt others. Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue) and Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft) have suffered the most. This time last year the Iberis formed a lush evergreen accent in the labyrinth.

Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft)

Visit Christina at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for more Garden Bloggers Foliage Day entries.

April Showers And Flowers

Flowers, flowers.

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait,’ a peony added last spring to the garden, has just two buds this year.

Peony Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ is opening in several places around the garden, its color a rich dark indigo.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

More fully open another Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ looks pinkish in the late day sunlight. The actual flower color is more like that of the bud in the previous image, a beautiful deep blue.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

In the southern garden bed the black iris continues to stand out against silvery Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear).

Black Iris

Close up the color of black iris is intense.

Black Iris

A couple of pink Achillea (yarrow) opened recently. This is a dwarf variety that stands about 10 inches high.

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Catmint (Nepeta) are paired together though happenstance but appear to make nice companions.

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Catmint (Nepeta)

The phlox divaricata is a pass-along plant that has been in this garden and a previous garden forever. It is an old-fashioned, charming favorite.

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Nepeta (Catmint) makes a nice show a the front of the border.

Catmint (Nepeta)

This Coreopsis was added to the garden last year and did very poorly. It is surprisingly healthy this spring with a deep rich golden yellow.



Except for one hot and dry week April has brought generous rains to the garden. Following a few threats of frost this past week, temperatures reached into the seventies today. Starting very early today, rain alternated with sun throughout the morning and then the afternoon was fair. All day the birds have sung incessantly.

The garden needs attention now, but it is going to be on its own a few more days. After this recent strong period of bloom, some things such as the roses and a few of the irises need grooming as they are beginning to look a little tired. The tradescantia is encroaching in every direction and the eastern red columbine should be cut back soon before it spreads seeds. In the meditation circle Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) is overdue to be pruned back, but the recent cooler weather and rains encouraged it to produce fresh blooms, earning it a few more days.

Iberis sempervirens 'Purity' (Candytuft)

Rain. Rain.

Rain. Rain. I stop short of asking this week’s soaking rains to go away, come again another day.  Here in central North Carolina, severe drought-stricken as we are, it would be imprudent to wish away the relief of water falling from the sky, but I do admit to a tiny bit of impatient foot tapping.

Meditation Garden

Soggy grass clumps fill the meditation circle

This week has been mostly a wash-out for making my meditation garden a reality. Chopping and removing grass from the 20-foot diameter circle are on hold.

Subfreezing lows earlier in the week brought sleet just a few miles up the road, but in this garden the unusually cold temperatures have not been the issue.  The impediment to achieving progress lately has been the rain: thunderstorms yesterday morning, more rain expected today.

Tuesday, chilly but sunny, was an exception to a week of soaking rains. Amazingly, that day the soil was dry enough to be able to work it and I set about to methodically chop up the clumps of fescue.  Originally I had thought I would leave the grass in the bed, but now have decided to remove and compost it.  The work is hard and time-consuming.

Assessing the progress achieved Tuesday after three hours of toiling, it is clear the pace is that of the tortoise, not the hare.  Yet the process, slow as it is, remains extremely satisfying. I have embraced the idea that developing my meditation garden can be taken as an opportunity and a journey. Eventually the digging will continue and one day the garden will be realized.  As with life, itself, it seems more important to notice and enjoy each moment than to simply speed along towards the end.

Elsewhere In the Garden

Irish Eyes Rudbeckia

Meanwhile the rest of the garden is responding well to this week’s rains.

The perennials look fresh and green.

The ‘Irish Eyes’ rudbeckia hirta did poorly last summer but seems to be back on track this year.

Echinacea (purple coneflower), monarda (bee balm), Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan), Lychnis (Rose Campion), Tradescantia (spiderwort) and more are growing enthusiastically.

Catnip and Iris

The nepeta (catmint or catnip) has formed a strong, but gentle mound in front of tall drifts of irises.