PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Mints

This is a HUGE family of plants that includes many well known culinary herbs like Thyme, Rosemary, and Oregano, and favorite flowering perennials like Beebalms and Sages. But when we think of mint we think of peppermint and spearmint. These two in particular have reputations as garden bullies which means you either plan to harvest a lot of mint or grow it in a container where it can’t run amok. Not all mints behave that way, though.

Washington state is the nation’s #1 mint producer. Grown mostly in the center of the state around Yakima, 3.5 million pounds of the stuff is harvested per year. Drive across central Washington in late summer and you’ll find the air suffused with minty fragrance from the 28000 acres of it growing around you. Most of it is for mint oil which is used in a gazillion products worldwide. Mint oil has amazingly medicinal properties, is effective as an insect and pest repellent, and is a powerful disinfectant.

Around mid summer when most mints are blooming we see an astonishing range of winged pollinators visiting the blooms non stop from dawn to dusk. We’ve spotted these critters sipping nectar: Honeybees, Woodland Skipper Butterflies, Longhorn Beetles, Golden Digger Wasp, Hover Flies, Green Bottle Flies, various other butterflies and moths, and hummingbirds – all harmless to humans and hugely beneficial to a garden.