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Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

Posted by lalala 6 (Metro Boston) (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 11:48

I'd like to create a border along a fence that has the same sort of look as the picture below--a combination of catmint (nepeta) and lady's mantle (alchemilla). The area I have in mind is not quite consistently sunny enough to support a whole stretch of nepeta, though. It's a long stretch of fence with shadier ends and a sunnier middle, so I could do more than 2 types of plant; I just like the general idea of this design. Any ideas as to what I could use instead of/in addition to nepeta? (I also won't have the roses winding through the fence, unfortunately.)

thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

Oh my gosh, I was thinking of asking this exact same question with this exact same image! My fence is half mostly sunny and the other half is pretty shady. I am just trying to think of plants that will grow in both conditions (and I like the idea of the yellowy/purply combination. And I have blue hydrangeas that poke through the fence). I don't think the lady's mantle would do well in the sunnier part. I know some purply blue geraniums do okay in both sun and shade. My question was just going to be: can we compile a list of plants that can handle both sun and shade?


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

  • Posted by lalala 6 (Metro Boston) (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 13:07

That's so funny! I saw the combo in person and it was so lovely that I went searching for an image. Mila, where or in what zone do you live? Lady's mantle does fine in a fair amount of sun for me, though perhaps not full sun. I was thinking geranium too, though I like the slight spikiness of catmint. Your hydrangea sounds pretty. My fence is solid boards (and borders a neighbor) so nothing will be behind it.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

It doesn't look like catmint to me. More like salvia, probably May Night.

Catmint is reasonably shade tolerant. I wouldn't hesitate to plant it anywhere that can be described as part shade.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

I'm in 6a (in central Missouri), so maybe it would do fine too. I have a lot of it in the shade. Where is this actual garden? I really like this specific combination, but I also would be happy with any nice, cohesive combination. I was thinking (based on what I already have in my garden and could easily plunder from) of using golden feverfew, yellow day lilies, and then some geraniums which would give a lot of different textures and foliage. But yeah, that spikiness is really nice, and I can't think of anything that works like that.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

  • Posted by lalala 6 (Metro Boston) (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 13:25

The actual garden I saw is on Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA (beautiful street of huge historic houses--not where I live!). There is another house on a side street nearby that has a similar combo. The second house had a much larger variety, though the same approximate effect--I think it was an alternating pattern of lady's mantle, catmint, salvia, lambs' ear or something silvery, hosta, sedum, daylily and some spiky blue grass by the front gate.

I do have some nepeta walker's low that does OK in part sun, but some other areas along the fence are shadier, and plus it sometimes gets eaten/rolled on by the local cats. I definitely don't think I have enough sun for salvia.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

Poking around, there are campanulas grow in a different light conditions. The taller ones are sort of spiky - not in the way of catmint or salvia, but it would give you nice tall fronds of flower. Also ladybells (though I have had bad luck growing those).


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

I agree with mad_gallica; that doesn't look like catmint to me either, but does look like my May Night salvia.Which is growing well both in full sun and in maybe-three-hours-of-sun in my garden.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

FYI, I have lady's mantle growing in full sun from 10 a.m. until past 5 p.m. Granted that the garden area is on a high-water table, but I also have it in dryer areas in full sun and it does just fine. I'm in Central MA.

Love the photo -- just gorgeous. Please post pics of yours when you get it planted!


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

I planted a part-sun border to edge a large bed and alternated lady's mantle with Japanese sedge grass 'Ice Dance' that seems to tolerate the conditions well. The area is a gradual slope that's shaded in the afternoon by a tree (center rear of the pic). This photo was taken 2 years ago. The border is to the right in the picture.

I unfortunately didn't allow enough space between the plants so they're now very over-crowded. I gave each plant 20" of space but they should have been given half again as much.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

  • Posted by lalala 6 (Metro Boston) (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 20:56

You know what's funny--I thought the picture I posted was just similar to the house I'd seen, but today I was in Cambridge and drove by the house in question, and it is the SAME house in the picture! Can't believe I didn't recognize it as the same. I didn't see it at its peak with all the flowers blooming at once, so it looked a little different.

So I can confirm as of this afternoon that the border in the picture alternates lady's mantle, salvia, and catmint. You can see a little catmint behind the salvia.

Since some of you say that you have had success with May Night salvia in part shade, I'm thinking I might try the lady's mantle, salvia, catmint combo with some variegated hostas at the shadier ends, and maybe some campanulas and balloon flower to provide extra color.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

Not catmint. I agree it's a salvia.


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

Hi Lalala, One of the things I've been thinking about is how beautiful the chartreuse flowers are on the Lady's Mantle and how, if you wanted to extend that color longer than the Lady's Mantle is in bloom, you could substitute Sweet Potatoe Vine. Just an idea. Best of luck!


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

Lovely.
I'm about to cut the grungy blossoms off the alchemilla tomorrow, and the salvia got deadheaded today. A lot of nepetas have to be cut back to regain their compactness and rebloom.
So after the initial thrill, there'd def. be downtime, and whatever comes next won't be as lovely early summer.
So what? That's gardening for you. Keep an eye on that garden and tell us what comes next.
I live in Lexington,MA. Is the house on Brattle St or one of the streets off it? I might take a drive around.There are many lovely gardens around there. Many paid garden helpers, too.
idabean/marie


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

  • Posted by lalala 6 (Metro Boston) (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 12, 13 at 22:46

Marie,

The house pictured is on Brattle. If you're heading away from Harvard Square, and pass Longfellow house on the right, it's a bit farther down on the left. Light gray house on a corner. It's definitely not as spectacular right now as it was a few weeks ago, but still nice.

There's another set of gorgeous gardens a couple of blocks down--I think on Appleton St--one on the corner of Appleton and Brattle that has been professionally re-done in the past few years, and one a few houses up Appleton on the right that has a spectacular mix of hydrangeas and perennials. Hard to emulate without professional help, but great for inspiration. I spent some time walking around there and typing notes on my phone last week!


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

  • Posted by lalala 6 (Metro Boston) (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 12, 13 at 22:50

Steve,
That's a good suggestion. I think I've mostly seen sweet potato vine in planters. How does it do in the garden? Does it sprawl and climb about?


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RE: Catmint/lady's mantle border--alternatives to catmint

Veronica Romiley Purple and Sunny Border Blue would both do well there for a spiked plant. Both would stay more compact and upright than Salvia or catmint. Both do well for me with some sun or full sun. Excellent plants and other colors to choose from.


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