Mountain mint is a native wildflower you see growing throughout Virginia during summer.
With its narrow leaves, the plant features a delicate, somewhat airy appearance, according to Helen Hamilton, president of the John Clayton Chapter, Virginia Native Plant Society.
Mountain mint, botanically known as Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, is found on stream banks, moist fields and thickets in other states from Maine south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas.
The species name tenuifolium is derived from the Latin tenuis, meaning "thin," which refers to its narrow leaves.
All kinds of insects, including bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers and beetles, love the flowers and their nectar, says Helen. The plant's seeds are too small to interest birds.
You can purchase Cat Springs mountain mint through Plant Delights in Raleigh, N.C.; visit http://www.plantdelights.com or call 919-772-4794. You may want to save the date, or even register extra early, because Plant Delights owner Tony Avent is a speaker at Christopher Newport University's annual gardening symposium April 16. He's one you will want to hear because his plant trips and breeding programs are known globally.
Tony claims Cat Spring mountain mint is a deer-resistant form, and is very good for your vegetable garden because it brings hoards of beneficial pollinating insects.
Locally, the Virginia Living Museum will offer it at plant sales Sept. 18-19 and 25-26.
For more information about native plants, visit the John Clayton Chapter at http://www.claytonvnps.org.
So you see it
The front-yard cottage garden of Linda and Joe Hertzler of Williamsburg gets a five-page spread in the August issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. The two own and operate Hertzler and George, a landscape design, installation and maintenance firm in Williamsburg; for details, visit http://www.hertzlerandgeorge.com.
Their garden features flowers and vegetables, plus places for wildlife to scratch, eat and stay a while. Linda's favorite plants in the garden are cardoon, zinnia, okra, variegated holly and boxwood.
Read more about the garden in an August Diggin' In.
So you try it