I planted catnip (aka catmint) a couple of years ago. Popular in landscaping, it produces small purple flowers essentially from spring to fall. As it turns out, the deer leave it alone while demolishing hostess and every other supposedly deer-resistant ornamental. Although, we did salvage a few veggies. Here are the top three garden benefits of catnip that shows up right away. (Not counting that the cat loves it.)
Since then, I planted a bunch more, and this is why:
- It looks nice. A compact, rounded shrub, it does not seem inclined to spread and forms an orderly procession right where it is planted.
- It is indestructible. While deer eat everything and summer storms alternate with high heat, the plants just keep on blooming. So far, I have only tried a few types of mint. Some are invasive, especially peppermint. While I have only begun to explore the various benefits of the different types, so far the deer and occasional rabbits do not seem to like any of them. This is huge. Where we live, there are so many woodland critters. They are cute. They are also wildly destructive to almost any vegetation.
- This is the biggest one, and least expected. Pollinators love it! I see bumble bees (the big, slow bees), mason bees, only a few honeybees, and they never bother us. I see occasional butterflies. This spring, there is an ongoing patronage from a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds. Just the other day, I saw a pair of goldfinches (I think they were eating pollen) hopping from stem to stem for their lunch. I have also seen an indigo bunting I hadn’t seen before, and a little brown and white hummingbird. And counting… I hope you consider the garden benefits of catnip the next time you are looking for a cute, hardy, perennial plant to add to the front yard, side yard, or garden border.