Put it at the top of your “must grow” list for spring — the gorgeous Marvelette Calamints in bright blue and gleaming white! These perennials bloom just 3 months after sowing, so you can grow them in any climate. And because they are open-pollinated, they will cheerfully self-sow for years of color to come. But the best part? The mint-like fragrance of the foliage. Or wait — maybe it’s the bee and butterfly magnetism of these tiny, bright blooms. Or would it be the drought tolerance?
Calamintha has been hovering
on the edge of American gardens for years, an herb that is often, unfairly, compared to Baby’s Breath. Yes, the flowers are small and the habit airy, but this is a fragrant, easy-care perennial that flowers for months in the sun, attracts pollinators, edges pathways, hides the leggy stems of everything from roses to black-eyed susans, looks great in containers, and tumbles over rocks and low walls. In other words, it is versatile, trouble-free, lovely, and wonderfully scented.
Often used as a ground cover in its native Europe and Great Britain, Calamint comes into its own as an ornamental with the advent of the Marvelette series. The two colors in this family won top honors at the Fleuroselect trials, with Blue winning the coveted Gold Medal (it is a new color for Calamintha) and White receiving the Novelty Award. This series is more compact, upright, and bushy than the species, with a longer flowering period, bigger blooms (yes, 1/2-inch is considered “big” in the Calamint family!), and a longer flowering season.
The seeds can be direct-sown in spring, but you might want to start them indoors in your Bio Dome to get them off to an even quicker start. They won’t give you any trouble, and they really take off when the weather warms.
Calamint doesn’t mind shallow or rocky soils, so it’s a good choice for the foundation, around the mailbox (where you can brush against it every day, releasing that fresh mint scent!), and along the driveway. Dry soil isn’t an issue either, and it wouldn’t mind being planted on
a slope to help prevent soil erosion. But the Marvelettes (they sound like dancers, don’t they?!) are so ornamental that you will want to put them in nice fancy planters on the deck, too. Uh-oh — better pick up an extra packet or two. Did we mention that they are the perfect vegetable patch flower, bringing in the pollinators and repelling the destructive pests?
We are excited to bring this pretty, useful, sweet herb to American gardens this spring! We recommend that you add it everywhere you can find a place in the garden: the stems are nice for cutting, the quick-growing foliage makes a good cover-up for the spring bulb garden; and the late flowering season bridges the gap between summer and fall in border and bed. We think the Marvelettes are going to be one of the new go-tos for gardeners!