Name: Nepeta racemosa ‘Walkers Low aka walkers low catmint
Type of Plant: A perennial for full sun that flowers from late-May into July in the northeast. Hardy in zones 4-8 and growing to 2 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide.
Why I love this: There are several reasons I love this perennial. The flowers are blue and showy, and complement other early summer perennials beautifully. But I also love this Nepeta because it allows the gardener to be flexible about the maintenance of the perennial garden.
After the second week of July you can either just leave this perennial alone for the rest of the summer, you can shear it in half with hedge trimmers to sculpt the Nepeta into a round ball, or you can cut it to the ground and let the new foliage form a nice, clean and tidy mound later in the summer.
The decision can be made according to the time you have, the look you’d like to achieve in the garden, and whether you want to add more annuals for flower power all summer. If you are pressed for time, do nothing to this plant. If you want it to look tidy without much extra work, shear it into a ball. And if you’d like more color and don’t mind some early-July planting, cut the Nepeta to the ground and plant some annuals in the newly opened spaces nearby.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t overwater this plant with automatic irrigation and plant it in well-drained soil. Most importantly, don’t expect that because it’s called “Walkers Low” that this is a lower-growing catmint. It’s not. Allow the plant the space it needs and you’ll be smiling every year in the early summer.