The word “Low” does not describe the height of this lovely, fragrant perennial. It stands 2½ – 3’, which makes it a good fit mid-border, or even back-of-the-border in smaller settings. It brings a cheerful, informal look to plantings of any size. ‘Walker’s Low’ blooms like crazy every year, it’s cool purple-blue color goes with everything, and just plain easy to grow. All of this is a real boon late in the season like this when things start looking a bit tired.
The name honors the owner of the Irish garden where ‘Walker’s Low’ originated – where its soft mounds of gray-green foliage and loose spikes of lavender-blue flowers, from late spring well into summer, were first appreciated. ‘Walker’s Low’ was introduced to the trade in Europe in 1988. It soon crossed the ocean and became a hit here in America. It’s great for attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and various pollinators. Bonus: Deer and rabbits resistant!
In 2007 the Perennial Plant Association honored Nepeta ×faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’ as the Perennial Plant of the Year, which tells you it’s a solid performer across a wide range of terrains and climates.
More recently it posted high scores in trials at the University of Georgia, so you know it can take the heat. In fact, it’s hardy all the way from Zone 3 to 9. And unlike some in the genus, it won’t split and sprawl.
Photos don't do justice to the unique, cool blue-purple flower color of 'Walker's Low' - you must see it yourself. But it looks great with pretty much every color in the garden or landscape and is especially enticing in the light of a summer sunset.
Plant one, plant many 'Walker's Low' is one of those perennials that is showy enough to be planted on its own but is positively dazzling planted in masse. Lots of cities plant it by the hundreds because it's so durable and beautiful.
What's the cat connection? 'Walker's Low' is known as catmint to distinguish it from catnip, Nepeta cataria (yes, that's it's real scientific name!). Botanically speaking, the plants are indeed related, but catmints are much more ornamental, and don't become weedy.