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My Favorite Plants

September 1, 2011

By John Markowski

I’m a big fan of those “If you were stranded on an island and could only bring …” questions. I take them very seriously when considering my options. If I could bring one album, it’s Nirvana “Unplugged”. If it’s one movie, it’s “Dazed and Confused”. Sorry, more than you needed to know.

I recently was asked (OK, I dreamt it up) if I could bring one plant with me to a deserted island, what would it be? Never mind the fact that conditions may not work for my plant of choice and that it may not survive the trip; we’ll suspend reality for this little exercise. I thought long and hard and came up with my choice, well, two choices actually. Here they are and I’ll tell you why:

#1 – Catmint (Nepeta) ‘Walker’s Low’

  • Purple blooms last for months
  • Is fragrant (part of mint family)
  • Low maintenance (just need to shear in late June, after first flush of bloom)
  • Attracts bees and butterflies
  • Looks good even when not in bloom
  • Works well as an edging plant along a walkway

#2 – St John’s Wort (Hypericum) ‘Albury Purple’

  • Low maintenance – Just cut to ground in spring here in NJ
  • Foliage color stands on its own with its unique shades of purple and green
  • Small yellow flowers contrast well with foliage
  • Produces dark purple berries after flowering

What do you think? What are your favorites and why?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2011 2:36 pm

    I totally agree with the Nepeta. I can’t believe how long it blooms, how carefree it is, and how much the bees just adore it …..and it loves my dry and sandy soil. Perfect!

  2. September 1, 2011 5:20 pm

    Love Walker’s Low Catmint!!! Very dependable!

  3. September 1, 2011 7:29 pm

    I am a fan of the Nepeta up in Wisconsin but not here in my small Chicago area garden. It attracted too many bees along the walkways so I moved it to the alley garden where it does fine. I think our weather gets too hot for it even though it is listed as a Xeric plant, fades out in the heat. I guess I am beating around the bush, not a favorite! St Johnswort does not always hold up in our winter weather, one year died to the ground, remember I spent a lot of time cutting out dead wood every year.

    Sorry, it must be the zone difference!


  4. Edward james-Smith permalink
    September 2, 2011 3:02 am

    Nepeta is brilliant. Have it in a bed with Verbena bonariensis, Salvia nemorosa “Caradonna”, “Sensation deep blue improved” & “sensation deep rose improved” as well as Echinacea purpurea “white swan”. It is in flower most of the summer, attracts butterflies and softens the structure of the bed compared to the more upright growth of the other plants.Not familiar with St. John’s Wort. .

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