Common name: 'Souvenir d'André Chaudon' Siberian catmint Plant type: Perennial Flower color: Violet-blue Bloom period: June-September Fragrance: Leaves are minty Height: 2-3 feet Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-9 Light needs: Full sun Moisture needs: Average to dry Seasonal character: Spikes of large blue flowers for most of summer; clean, gray-green foliage
Here's a French plant for you--by way of Siberia, or rather the other way around. This relatively new nepeta cultivar is not to be missed. With much bigger, showier flowers than all other nepetas, outstandingly long continuous bloom, and a compact habit, for me 'André' has become the nepeta of choice.
Quite a bit taller than the widely grown x faassenii hybrids, this nepeta is paradoxically less prone to flopping outward and having a hollow center. It has stout stems that are thickly clothed with long, pointed gray-green leaves right down to ground level. It seems to always be in bloom, even without deadheading, and the blossoms are attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds. The spikes also make great cutflowers.
Grow this nepeta in well-drained soil in a sunny location. Placing it in part shade will cause it to become floppy and to bloom less. Its violet-blue color makes it an easy companion for almost any other plant. 'Souvenir d'André Chaudon' looks especially ravishing with the apricot rose 'Cornelia', Achillea millefolium 'Terracotta', and Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam.' It's also terrific with tall ornamental grasses behind it. Never mind where you put it; just plant it!
Having a collector's mentality in my plant passion, I've had to learn how to make the best garden choices for myself and others. Here are my very favorite plants--some old, some new--but all plants that earn their place in any garden. Included are the latest and greatest plant introductions from France and the rest of Europe eminently suitable for New World gardens.