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Tried And True Plants

As I look at my fall garden, I am reminded of the plants that persist year after year regardless of both neglect and challenging weather conditions.

cat in catmint

Photo: Teresa Stanton (flickr)

This cat and I are in agreement about the virtues of catmint.

For example, the catmint (nepeta nervosa) that edges my sunny borders with soft gray mounds about two feet wide and two feet tall. It has purple flower racemes in the spring and intermittently all summer if I remember to shear it back. The deer do not bother it as it has a distinctive smell.

They like the mallow, though. If there is some they miss, I get glorious pink, white and lavender flowers from my malva mocheta and malva sylvestris in sun to part sun right up till frost. Malvas also self seed in a restrained way, and I am always smitten with the striped cup shaped flowers on M. sylvestris ‘Zebrina’.

I have a lot of repeat blooming day lilies, which give me lots of flowers if I spray carefully to repel the deer. (Of course that is easier said than done.) I like them best in a bed all together with only daffodils for companions, as the deer don’t like daffodils, and then later I can blast the whole bed with deer repellent spray.

Tried and true plants are so reliable, and if we pay them the minimum attention they need they perform for us like the stalwart citizens they are. They deserve a special pat on the back.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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