Becky Kirts is a Master Gardener residing in Shelby County, Kentucky. She loves to share recipes, garden information and travel fun on her blog. Gardening is in her genes. Becky grew up in a family of eight where a love of nature and gardening was understood and respected. In addition to growing plants, she has spent years cultivating her passion through research, writing, and teaching. She did this while raising two children and working full time.

Becky lives in a beautiful 100 year old home on land once owned by Squire Boone. She is lovingly trying to nurture the land to make it a home for birds, wildlife, plants, pets and family. Becky’s property has over 60 varieties of trees, a vineyard, berry patch, a potager garden, and much, much more.

Becky hopes that you will enjoy her personal approach to life in her garden and beyond.
 

 

Sweet Mock-orange Bush
by Becky Kirts - posted 02/26/17

I do a challange as much as possible to my garden followers... This week it was " Think About it Thursday"   I posted the pics below. No one guessed it this week.... Hope you will join in the fun... I will try to post it every time on this blog as well.... Here is the answer for last weeks picture.

 

I believe that this early bloomer is a Sweet Mock-orange Bush. It was already thriving here when we bought this property over 20 some years ago. I am not positive of the variety. It definitely is an older variety as the blossoms are single, delicate and breathtakingly fragrant.  So I am going with (Philadelphus coronarius).  However since this bush was first cultivated in1560, I am not putting a bet on this assumption. 

This variety is hardy in Zone 4-8. It is a very rapid grower . It can grow as much as 24” a year. Several years ago, after a very cold winter, I gave mine a  needed haircut. That has resulted in a more compact, more attractive bush and actually more blooms. 

This bush needs at least 4 hours of direct sun a day. So partial shade will do. It lives very happily in one of my “island gardens.”  This area shines in the spring as it has Forsythia and many different varieties of daffodils. In the summer this area host a wonderful Smoke Tree and a Japanese Red Maple that comes into its own under the shade of the Mock-orange. The daffodils are hidden under a wonderful living mulch of ferns. So little mulch is needed. Finally a very old Holly gives me shiny green leaves and bright red berries. My little “island garden” shines all year long. 

Some feel this shrub is boring except for the two weeks of blooms. But I love it for many good reasons. # 1 being my Mother had one in her garden and she was so happy to see one in my landscape.  Plus, according to Doug Tallamy, certain varieties of this shrub fit right into my mission to transition amy gardens over to more native plants. This shrub provides cover for wildlife, nest sites for birds, pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies and food for caterpillars. So what is not to love about Mock-Orange?

 

 

 

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Is it really only February 20th??
by Becky Kirts - posted 02/20/17

Oh my..it is really only February 20th? Look at the blooms in my garden today! Plus the daffodils are ready to pop!! I hope we don't pay for this in March.  What is blooming in your garden? I would love to know? 

 

sin rthis 

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Green in My Garden Today!!
by Becky Kirts - posted 01/27/17

Look at what I found Green in my Garden today!

 

Yes…It is Catnip and Yes my cats go absolutely crazy.   “Nepeta Cataria”  is also known as catmint, cat’s wort, cat’s heal all, cat’s-play or even cat-grass. What ever you want to call it, this harmless “drug” sends all my furry 4-legged fiends into ecstasy, without any long term effects. Beware, it is not only cats but also big felines such as lions, tigers, and lynx react to the scent of this herb as well. 

However, over 33% of all cats are not effected by the herb. Reaction to the herb is based on genetics. They either inherit the love of catnip or not. I have read that in olden times, Farmers would plant catnip all-around the heat fields, in an effort to attract cats which would in turn chase and devour the rodents, that where eating the wheat. Pretty clever, if I may say so. 

Catnip is easy to grow, however I have found it seems to do better in partial shade. Each plant seems to last for a couple years and then since I don’t harvest the blooms, it reseeds and pops up in a different location. I don't personally collect the seeds but they do stay viable for over 5 years. 

The blooming period is about 1-2  months, during the summer or early fall. The blooms are quite attractive with spiked hues of white to a pale pink or purple. Although they are not fragrant they do attract bees and butterflies. The foliage has a very pungent aroma, that is a cross between  thyme and oregano. The leaves are an arrow shape, with serrated edges and are a gray-green color, which lends itself beautifully to a silver garden. 

I have had good success transplanting this plant in the spring and the fall. It is also very easy to dry, both the blossoms as well as the leaves.  And yes, my cats enjoy the dried as well as the fresh.  It is fun to stuff into small little cat pillows as well as fabric mice or a fabric ball. 

Please do not confuse this variety with the more decorative Cat Mints such as  ‘6 Hills Giant’ (Nepeta x faasserill). This plant has very showy blue blooms and is often used as a beautiful border. There are other new varieties but although I love this plant, I have not seen my feline friends hanging around it. 

Catnip has many beneficial qualities for humans as well, but not are near as entertaining as a cats response to the herb.  I will save the human reactions and benefits of catnip for another article. 

 

There you go, cat lovers, farmers and big game hunters…..go plant some Catnip You are liable to get a big lick of thanks.  

 

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