Back to

I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!

Well now. Who hasn’t screamed those words? Maybe at a parent that wouldn’t let you go out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night?

“There’s nothing I could do Sunday night that I couldn’t have done Friday night and twice Saturday night. You’re ruining my life. I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” Door slams.

Or maybe at a brother or sister that never brought the car back by 2 like they promised so you could go to the big away game. The bus left at 2:15 and they brought the car back at 2:45.

“You knew I needed the car by 2. You stayed late at Kathy’s just so I would miss the bus. I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” Door slams.

Or maybe at someone you spent 18 months dating thinking all was going well until one day instead of “I love” you it’s “I do love you, in my own way.”

“In your own way? What the hell is that supposed to mean? In your own way?! I gave up a spot on ‘So You Think I You Can Dance’ because you couldn’t stand to be apart. Why don’t you go love the grill of a big red truck in your own way? I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” Door slams. Hopefully on his snotty-assed nose.

Enough about people. What about plants? There are some plants I simply do not like even though they function perfectly fine. The one that comes to mind instantly is Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’, a catmint. That’s catmint not catnip which is Nepeta cataria. Please don’t confuse the two. I am not a big fan of Nepeta in general anyway. Can’t stand the way the foliage smells may be the main reason. Many love the fragrance, or as I would say, odor. When I bought ‘Walker’s Low’ several years back the catalogue said it only grew 10 inches tall. However, it actually reached the same height as the Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ that was planted right across the path, closer to 24 inches. A few years later and the catalogues were explaining it was named after the Irish garden it was found in not its ultimate height. So I accepted that. And still I hated the plant. When ‘Walker’s Low ‘ was named the 2007 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year I wanted to puke. But if you walk out in the gardens this right now you could never imagine someone saying they hated it. It is truly glorious this year. Never before have the blooms appeared so blue. Does our long cool Spring make it think it’s in Ireland again? Could be. Cool weather can intensify colors on many plants. Here it is in the Garden for Everyone.

Here in the parking lot islands at the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse.

And here again in GFE with Peony ‘Eden’s Perfume’.

‘Walker’s Low’ survives and even thrives in less than ideal conditions, baking in hot dry sun or bright dry shade. It blooms for a long time and has nice silvery green foliage. Cut it back after the first flush of blooms and it will give a second show. If it gets long and leggy (I mean that in the bad sense not the Betty Grable sense) just cut it back to the ground and it will grow back out nice and mounded. A s I said, a high functioning plant – if only more people were.

For a long time I hated Petunia ‘Purple Wave’ too. Just hated it. I think because it was marketed so heavily. My friend Terry used it all the time and it looked great in her garden. I still would not let my resolve be broken. I was on a mission to destroy this plant. Now? Eh. It’s a nice plant, big and robust, blooms like crazy, great color.

Maybe it is time to let the hate go. I hate this. She hates that. He hates everything. I am thinking this strong gut reaction to some plants is in part because everything we do is so visual, even when it is just green on green texture. But in part it’s just human nature too. The horticulture world is so opinionated. And like any form of art it’s all subjective. One person’s tattered leafed banana is another’s tropical paradise. Perhaps I could just say something like, “That is aesthetically displeasing to me”. Or how about “That is an interesting choice”. Or I could say, “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”.

Old habits are so hard to break.

Filed under: Horticulture

7 Responses to “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”

  • avatar
    Terry Says:

    Et tu, Irvin…. Ok, I’m with you (maybe even ahead of you) on your dislike of all plants nepeta. But who knew of your complete disdain for mah’ purple petunias???? Simply a matter of personal taste. Yours, btw, is wrong of course. The things one learns by reading your blog.


  • avatar
    Robby Says:

    I think they look all right. Haven’t noticed the odor though!=)

  • avatar
    irvin Says:

    No, no, no, Terry. It’s not that they were not perfect in your garden. It was the marketing of the plant I was so resistant to. Like they were being forced down one’s throat. Your use of them has always been dead on. Fabeux!
    I agree Robby, they look all right.

  • avatar
    pattie quackenbush Says:

    If I have to plant another petunia, geranium, or impatiens out in Hort Gardens, I’m going to go insane. But, they do look good out there. Dangit.

  • avatar
    irvin Says:

    Pattie, I understand. And remember, looking good is all that matters.

  • avatar
    irvin Says:

    Definitely glad to hear you will return. Thanks for reading.

  • avatar


    It might have been more helpful if I had commented on this page, rather than your latest one? It’s the pic which has the heading: Here again in GFE with Peony ‘Eden’s Perfume’.

    Thanks for considering my request!


  • Trackbacks