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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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The Purr-fect Mint

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | May 08, 2017

As a gardener it is amazing where you can find inspiration for your own garden. It can be visiting someone else’s garden, walking around a park or even driving to a garden centre. The latter has been the case for a good few customers who have been calling into CountryLife here in Dungarvan over the past few weeks.

On the road approaching the garden centre the council has planted a massive display of Catmint and it has really caught people’s eye as they drive past. The council have planted it en mass here and it does have brilliant impact because the flowers are so vivid and thanks to the lovely weather lately it has been looking fantastic.

Catmint for those that are not familiar with it is an aromatic herb that is commonly grown in many gardeners for it’s flowers more than anything else. It produces clusters of lavender-blue flowers amid mounds of gray-green foliage. To say it has lots of flowers is an understatement. Once it starts flowering it really does just explode with an endless stream of flowers it seems.

Catmint can be grown in sun or partial shade which makes it versatile in a garden but like most herbs it does like good free draining soil that is not prone to water logging. If this can be an issue for you it would be a good idea to work some gravel into your flowerbed to improve the drainage.

You can use Catmint in a number of different ways in a garden. I have seen it in the past been used as an edging plant along borders but really I think it works best when plant in massive blocks. When you have a large sway of it I think you get the best impact from the flowers. Planting in large blocks can work well too with certain varieties that can be slightly aggressive growers and spread out a lot so it is best to set aside a good bit of space for it.

In my own garden I like to cut back Catmint in March after winter and then feed it with a good quality seaweed feed. Then after a few weeks you will find yourself with a lush plant covered in flowers. Once the first lot of flowers start to fade I recommend giving the plant a quick ‘haircut’ to remove the spent flowers and you fill find this will encourage a second flush of flowers that will see you right through to fall.

While I only grow Catmint as an ornamental plant I do know some people who grow it for culinary and herbal uses too. The leaves are said to make a great herbal tea which is said to have been used since the Roman times to relieve stomach issues and arthritis. It can also be used as a pest repellant too. 

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.