Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Free the Catmint!

A few weeks ago, I planted eighteen of my seed-grown catmint plants in the ground as an edging in the rose bed. I dutifully covered them with the Plant Defenders in order to save them from my grazing kitties. I intend to use the Defenders for this year only. By next year, the plants should have become established enough to resist being pulled from the ground and robust enough to recover from a little gnawing.

I expected any plant parts that grew outside of the dome to be promptly nibbled off. What I didn’t expect, is that my cats would concentrate their efforts on one plant. The poor plant pictured here has borne the brunt of the grazing. I’ve tried to get the kitties interested in some of the other plants, to allow this one to recover, but they’ve already made a habit of dining in a particular location.

The remainder of the plants are doing very well. A few are even flowering. I am hopeful that next year, when I remove the cages, they will all grow to be so lush. I also hope that the cats will have lost the habit of chewing on the underdog plant and, instead, graze a little more evenly. Five cats versus eighteen plants seems like a fair fight.


Blogger Leah said...

Where did you get those plant defenders and what are they made of?

11:39 AM  
Blogger firefly said...

Oooh, happy happy kitties. Just look at those faces!

Do you think that one plant maybe has higher levels of the active substance somehow -- soil a little different, or plant genetic makeup maybe produces a concentrated source?

1:16 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Leah, I ordered the plant defenders from Peaceful Valley. They were recommended by another blogger, I think it was Angela or maybe Andrea. One of those organic folks! They are made of plastic, but the bottom is painted with a copper paint that is supposed to repel slugs and snails.

Firefly, you may be right as to the reason why the kitties prefer one plant. These were all grown from seed, so, unlike the named catmint you buy from a nursery, they are not clones and all have unique genetics.

4:50 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Ha ha ha ha "free the cat mint" now that's too funny lol!

Your cats are really cute!

I've just read this on garden voices and had to come and tell you how much I enjoyed this post.

My cat loves my 3 cat mint plants as well.

Your plant defenders look great, as if they are made of iron, not plastic!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Alaska Diva said...

Are you sure these are catnip -nepeta cataria - or do they have blue flowers? The other blue-flowered ornamental varieties aren't that attractive to cats as they pink-flowered catnip is. My cats love catnip but don't bother the nepeta transcaucasica in the propagation beds. They do love the stinky roots of the valerians! One out of three cats are not attracted to catnip. Our last two cats couldn't be bothered to snort herbs!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Crunchberry's mom said...

i remember when i brought home my 1st ever catnip seedling.
i was so proud of it. i bought it a large terra cotta pot and transplanted it. then i walked over to my neighbors when she called to me. when i came back 15 minutes or so later, there, shattered on the ground was my new pot. potting soil was everywhere and no sign of the plant at all! Blackie had struck!

i am way more careful now with seedlings!

9:51 PM  

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