New Catmint Boarder Garden at the Small House Homestead

nepeta_near field stones
Although this plant is called Walker Low, it really isn’t low growing but it is a stunning plant.

After several years of trying to divide and transplant Walker Low catmint (Nepeta-faasseni) with very mixed results I finally gave up trying to save money and I bought 20 plants for a planned border in my turn-around bed that I have been trying to create. I used the egg sale money I have saved from the past years.

Catmint in the ground USE

My catmint perennials are coming up nicely after the long winter. 

Catmint, if you are not familiar with it is an easy-to-grow perennial that tolerates average to dry, moist soil. Their cheery lavender blooms look good when most other perennials are done for the season. They like half sun half shade and are hardy in zones 3-8.

Most catmints prefer full sun and well-drained, not overly fertile soil, although plants in hot summer areas do well with some afternoon shade. Related to catnip but much showier its gray-green foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season as well. Established plants are quite drought tolerant.

This morning we drove to my favorite nursery, Huntree Nursery in Glenn who had them ready for me. Huntree is a family owned seasonal nursery and a favorite place for many in our area to buy trees, evergreen and shrubs. In the fifteen years we have lived here I have purchased a LOT of plants from Huntree.

Hunt tree USE

 Spring has sprung at my favorite nursery, Huntree Nursery, Glen, MI. 
In 1971 Jan and David Landry came to work at the nursery after graduating from Michigan State University. Nine years later they purchased the business. And the rest as they say, is history.
Catmint and border
Today’s purchase of catmints will be the base of my new border.

Catmint Walker’s Low is famous for its wonderful fragrance, is deer resistant, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies’ and is bee friendly. Not really a low grower, ‘Walker’s Low’ will grow 24-30 inches tall and had no serious insect or disease problems. It is used in rock gardens, border fronts, herb gardens or naturalized plantings.

Catmint Walker’s Low is famous for its wonderful fragrance that butterflies, bees and cats love. Beautiful, lush, purple flower spikes start to appear in early summer and continue for up to 3 months. It’s a great perennial to add to your garden.

Catmint is a perfect plant for our homestead because it can tolerate our sandy soil and our on- again, off-again periods of drought. I love that it flowers throughout nearly the whole summer and into the fall season. Not only is it beautiful with it naturally rounded mounding shape and blue-green leaves, it the ideal herb to give to the chickens to eat too.

I picked them up in the morning and then I spent the day digging and planting.  They will grow for a few years into a splashy border and then I will have more plants to divide and transplant throughout my gardens.

Here are a few copyright free images if using catmint in the garden border. Isn’t this the most stunning plant when used in mass?



b2808386088424e736b43783697d3dc6 catmint boarder 2

After mine fill in and grow I’ll be sharing an “after” photographs of our garden border at a later date.

Small House homesteader, Donna




Two New Blue Bird Houses Go Up on The Homestead

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrandpa and granddaughter checking on the blue bird babies.

We have a nice small blue bird trail on our homestead. We have had three blue bird boxes set up on our 5-acres for the past decade and they have all been productive depending on the time of the year and the sunshine on the box itself.

Blue bird house in meadow entire plus pipe
The standard Audubon required blue bird box on a steel post.

Each season we have a pair of blue birds that mate and raise their young on our rural SW Michigan property. Most years these mated blue birds have at least two broods and most years they lay five eggs and one or two baby birds make it to maturity.

Bluebird house very close USE

The hole must be a certain size and the side must open as well.

For many decades blue birds were threatened in our state but efforts of bird lovers from all of the US have helped to save them and to actually create a revival of blue birds as a species.


If you are interested in knowing more about the placement of bluebird houses you can find more detailed information here. female and male blue bird pair.

 There is nothing like spotting that flash of bright sky blue as the male bird streaks across the meadow and flies up to the canopy of our White Oak trees. These joyful and family orientated birds bring us a great deal of pleasure; from the very first high in the tree call the male makes i the spring to the flying out of the babies twenty-one days after the momma bird began to set on her eggs. Every step in the process is a joy to observe.

Newest bluebird house inmeadow USE

One of the two new blue bird houses resides in the east side meadow. 

We follow the Michigan Audubon Societies requirements to setting them up; how far from the woods, how tall and exactly how they are attached to the sturdy metal pipe to protect them from raccoons getting the eggs and this data has proven to be a great success. Additional detail can be located on their website here:

Digging hole for bluebird house

Gene using a pole hole digger to make the hole for the newest post.

This week we added two more boxes to our five-acre property making a total of five boxes on our homestead.

I realize of course that a bluebird pair here will not let another pair of blue bird nest on the same property but these other boxes will be available for chickadees, swallows and other songbirds to nest here.

Digger clise up

 A close-up of the digger.

And more birds means fewer insects and bugs and more bird life to share with our grand daughter.

Let’s hear it for the blue birds!

Small House Homesteader, Donna