Marge Says, "I Have Favorite Plants Too!"

Marge helping with the frost blankets.Marge was overwhelmed with the responses to her suggestions for designing a pet friendly garden.  To be honest, she’s
been a little hard to live with since receiving all the positive feed back.  One would think that SHE was the garden
designer. 

Now that Marge is “in charge” of the garden she insists on putting her paw prints on all the decisions.  And boy is she hard to please. I get a nasty flick of the tail every time I come home from the garden center because I never seem to bring any of her favorite plants.  Finally I told her to put pen to paper and give me a list of her top choices.  Here’s her report.

Thank goodness Allen is finally taking into consideration my plant choices for the garden.  I spend a great deal of time out there and appreciate the addition of a few of my favorites.  I selected most of these plants because of their aromatic oils.  I find them quite stimulating, which is helpful when patrolling for mice in the garage.  I’ve also included a grass to nibble on.  This is important for my digestion.  I must stay fit after all. 

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)– It’s common knowledge that cats like catnip so I am shocked that Allen has yet to plant this in his garden.  He has plenty of catmint and I suppose he is just not aware that there is a difference between the two.  Both are members of the nepeta family, but catnip has larger leaves and white flowers.  There is saying that states, “If you set it, the cats will eat it. If you sow it, the cats don't know it.”  I cannot confirm or deny this since Allen has yet to plant it.  Humph!
Perennial; full sun; moist but well-drained soil; zones 4 – 9; cut back after the blooms fade for a second flowering.

Catmint ‘Six Hills Giant’ (Nepeta mussinii) – I’m not as fond of catmint as I am of catnip, but the inclusion of cat in the name gets it an automatic placement on my list and the foliage does smell good.  The blue flower spires are lovely as well.   Allen likes to use drifts of catmint along paths.  The form is very frothy so it spills over the edges, softening hard lines of the path very nicely. 
Perennial; full sun; moist but well-drained soil; zones 4 – 9; cut back after the blooms fade for a second flowering.

Catmint ‘Walkers Low’ (Nepeta mussinii) – For the longest time Allen would only plant ‘Six Hills Giant’, but last year he discovered ‘Walkers Low’ catmint.  Although the name implies that it is short in stature, this variety is actually named after its place of origin, not the plant’s mature height.  It will grow to about 24 inches tall and produces masses of deep blue flowers. 
Perennial; full sun; moist but well-drained soil; zones 4 – 9; cut back after the blooms fade for a second flowering.

Heliotrope (Valerian officinalis) – Valerian is one of my all time favorites.  The dark green leaves and light pink flower clusters borne on 5 foot tall flower stalks are a fine addition to the back of the flower border.  I’ll admit parts of the plant do smell like old cheese, but that’s plus in my book.  Although it is typically used as a sedative in the people world, cats find it to be very invigorating.   
Perennial; dappled shade or full sun with afternoon shade; moist, humus rich, well-drained soil; zones 5 - 9.

Cat Thyme (Teucrium marum) – This herb is a cousin of germander; it’s not related to thyme.  Allen likes to use Teucrium chamaedrys as a low, evergreen hedge in herb gardens. Like many of the other plants on my list, cat thyme has aromatic foliage that I find very pleasing.  Cat thyme also has pretty pink flowers that appear in summer.    
Perennial; full sun; well-drained, rocky, neutral to alkaline soil; zones 5 – 9.

Cat Grass (Monida Oats) – A girl cannot live on kibbles alone.  She needs some roughage, too.  That’s why I would like Allen to start growing cat grass or Monida oats.  The seeds sprout quickly, producing dense blue green foliage.  It’s a sweet tasting treat that helps with my digestion and prevents hair balls.  Another nice characteristic is that it can be grown indoors so Allen can keep a pot inside for me, too.  If this sounds like something your cats would like, be sure to purchase seeds that are organic and labeled specifically for pets.  Check your favorite garden center for cat grass seeds or Allen’s friend Renee Shepherd also sells gourmet salad greens for cats.  Visit her website http://www.reneesgardenseeds.com.
Annual; full sun to partial shade.    

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Comments

5 Cat Household

by Leigh Boen on April 10, 2008 12:26
We're not too sure whom owns whom but we've (5) 1/2 Siamese cats, all clowns who LOVE "Marge's missives"! As an English garden designer I've filled the gardens w/butterfly; hummingbird; birds of all sorts & of course "cat friendly" gardens. I started planting "Lemon Cat Mint" many years ago, leaves very aromatic w/small white flowers, grows like a weed in my Herb/Vegie gardens! All the neighborhood cats "Basque" right in the center of all my plants getting "high"! Marge, keep the columns coming!

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