What's popping up in your gardens!!!

March 31, 2011

Catnip ~ Catnap

I awoke to a beautiful sunny morning. Although it was cold outside, a sunny morning always helps. Enjoying a morning tea looking out into what will be a promising garden, I noticed that an old friend had appeared at the top of the hill. One of my feline friends has returned after a long, cold winter. An all black cat with a bell around its neck, I have no idea who owns this one, but as I opened my porch door, it came to greet me. I don't own any cats, I never have. But there are several that will hang around here all summer long. One reason is my catnip garden. In the garden, catnip has been found to be a natural insect repellent against aphids, making this plant perfect for the organic gardener. Its uses don't end there. Catnip has so much more to offer beyond the entertainment value of watching all these stray cats roll around in one area of my garden filled with catnip, or the way I look at it, I think these characters think it's their local bar. :)

Flowering Catnip Wreath

Catnip plants grow well in full sun or partial shade. Pinch tips throughout the growing season to delay flowering and make the plants more compact. Once the plants are almost finished blooming, I cut them back by one-half. This will encourage new growth and might prompt them to bloom again in late fall. I will divide these plants in Spring or Fall when the plants begin to look like they're going to overgrow.

Catnip is not prone to pests. However, the roots and crown can suffer from rot during cold and wet winters. Catnip plants can be used to edge borders and can be used to mix into herb gardens, along with roses. Catnip is also great for containers both big and small.
It's no mystery where this plant gets its name, cats love it. Dried leaves stuffed into cloth toys will amuse kittens for hours. I use the dried bunches in potpourri and arrangements. They can be intertwined with lemon balm, lemon verbena, marjoram, and scented geranium. They can hang in closets and pantries.

Shown above is flowering catnip celeriac, thyme, rosemary, and dandelion. The next photo shows catnip and greenleaf lettuce. In another area of the garden, I will have flowering catnip in a raised bed. The leaves can be steeped in boiling water to use as a stimulating minty tea. It is said that catnip tea reduces nervous tension and anxiety. Fresh leaves can be chopped up for soups, sauces, pastas, and sprinkled over salads. Obviously not just for our feline friends!

"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats." - English proverb

I think that's what the cat's return was trying to tell me.
All photos were taken in 2010. I'm not too anxious to get started gardening am I?


  1. Rosemary....I LOVE this post and I LOVE the new header picture!!! I love all your pictures..No post could ever be too long...such interesting facts about catnip that makes me not want to "snub" my nose up to it...(however when mine starts to grow "everywhere" (LOL!) you will understand...it comes up in the cracks of the sidewalk...!!! Pretty though!

  2. Rosemary, thanks for posting the new picture.

  3. I have given catnip to my friend Lorita's pet cat ....His name is Rocky and he is 22 years old and he is a fat cat but a good cat not a bad cat but he is definitely a catnip eatin' cat for sure ....He loves this herb !!

  4. P.S. I also hand-blend my own herbal teas and I include a bit of catnip in my Sweet Sleep Tea

  5. Oh I love the new header! I don't grow any herbs, but I believe I have catmint. I'm a new follower, this ought to be exciting and informative.