Every Blooming Thing

Courtesy photo/Judy Paul

Red Bluff Garden Cub member Judy Paul is eagerly awaiting this year's bloom of her Australian Mint Bush.

The Australian mint bush, Prostanthera rotundifolia, belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is of course, as its name implies, native to Australia, Wales, and New Zealand.

I had never heard of this attractive plant until a couple of years ago when a speaker from Magnolia Gifts and Gardens in Chico came to our garden club meeting to do a presentation, and naturally bought some plants we could purchase! I bought this mint bush for its dainty foliage, unaware of its lovely blooms until the following spring. Now I am eagerly awaiting its next bloom time which should begin in a couple of weeks.

The Australian mint bush is suitable for Zones 9–11, with winter temperatures not below 20 degrees. Plant them in full sun, or with afternoon shade, using well-draining soil conditions. Once established this plant has low watering requirements. The mint bush will range about 3–5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Mine has been planted for two years now so has not reached this size yet.

This is an evergreen shrub, with the special attraction of bell-shaped lavender flowers in early spring. The fragrant flowers are loved by hummingbirds and bees, and good to know for some folks, it is deer resistant too. After the bloom cycle prune the bush lightly as this will help it fill out into a fuller bush shape.

I have not tried this, but I read that you can make a tea of the minty leaves that is helpful with headaches and colds. The leaves are edible and can also be used in cooking. Their flavor is a cross between mint, thyme, and oregano so can be used in dishes compatible with these herbs. Another use that might be fun is to use the dried leaves in a potpourri mixture.

The Red Bluff Garden Club will be holding its annual, fantastic and diverse plant sale on May 1. We will be offering our plants for sale at the First United Methodist Church parking lot at 525 David Ave., in Red Bluff. It is the best spot to get your tried and true, wide variety of plants suitable for our area and weather conditions. Please mark your calendars, and come visit us with plenty of safe, outdoors space to shop. Check out our Facebook page for more updates on this as well as other events of our club.

Red Bluff Garden Club, Inc. is a member of Cascade District, California Garden Clubs, Inc., Pacific Region Garden Clubs, Inc., and National Garden Clubs, Inc.

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