A few years ago when I bought my house I asked my sister (a very experienced gardener) for a suggestion on how to fill up a lot of empty space in a garden my husband and I were creating. She suggested catmint, but warned me repeatedly that it spreads…a lot.
Being new to gardening that sounded great to me! I really wanted something to spread and fill up all the empty dirt patches. So I ran off to the gardening center and tracked down some catmint. When I finally found it I was not impressed. It was so tiny and wimpy looking. Why did she suggest this cruddy little plant to me?
I couldn’t imagine this little plant spreading enough to fill my garden so I decided to buy a lot of it and crossed my fingers that it would grow fast. I arrived home with the little guys in my car and started planting. My husband was not impressed either. He repeatedly asked me what it was and why I bought it. I just kept blaming my sister for my bad purchase.
After that first summer we moved on to many other projects. We didn’t give the catmint a second thought until the following summer. It grew and spread so fast we could not believe it was something we planted. There was not a bald patch of dirt to be seen any where. We were SO happy with it, until the next summer and the summer after that.
It is a MONSTER.
When my sister told me it would spread, I didn’t know it would turn into my own personal kudzu. I can’t even get into the garden any more. The blooms attract bees like crazy. To do any gardening I need a bee keeper’s suit and a machete. If you don’t believe me, I have proof. See for yourself.
Now, I know it looks pretty. I really appreciate how nice it looks. But I don’t appreciate that monster trying to eat all of my other plants. I spend every spring searching for survivors to rescue and relocate. I have had to find new homes for countless daffodils, tulips, lilies and boxwoods.
I know I am complaining. It really is a great plant if you have a football field size garden. If you are interested in planting some of these garden monsters they are a member of the mint family, drought hardy, it has repeat blooms and requires full sun to part shade. So, good luck to you if you plant it. Just keep an eye on it and if any of your plants go missing you know who to blame.