Leaf IV: Satisfaction

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Small things can bring great satisfaction.

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Velvety, fragrant herbs offer leaves both beautiful and delicious.  I eat them mostly with my eyes, but both the sage and scented geranium can be used for cooking or for tea.  Many fry sage leaves in a little olive oil for a savory garnish.

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Their volatile oils perfume the air on hot summer days.  Scented geraniums carry many sweet fragrances, from rose, to citrus, to mint. Their leaves may be large or small, serrated or smooth.  But all are wonderfully fragrant and hold their fragrance as they dry.

Rubbed against our skin, they protect us from mosquitoes as we work in the garden.

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Brought indoors in a vase, their scent fills the room.  These exquisite leaves fill out a bouquet with summer flowers as beautifully as they fill a pot or a border in the garden.

They love the heat and take off when many other garden plants begin to wilt.   Site these beauties in full sun, and watch your satisfaction grow.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Satisfaction

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Tri-color sage

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Leaf:  Illumination
Leaf II:  Celebration
Leaf III: Decoration

 

Happy Cat

 

Our happy cat with his Catmint

Our happy cat with his Catnip

There is a very happy cat living in our garden this summer.

He has his very own Catnip, Nepeta cataria,   growing within easy reach.

When a cat approaches Catmint, it first sniffs, and then begins to lick and bite the leaves to release more and more of the essential oils.

When a cat approaches Catnip it first sniffs, and then begins to lick and bite the leaves to release more and more of the essential oils.

We’ve noticed him spending more time outside lately.  And I had noticed the Catnip plants nibbled almost back to the ground a couple of times….

But this is the first time we’ve had the pleasure of watching him enjoy his Catnip.

June 7, 2014 garden 028

A member of the mint family, Catnip is a rampant grower.

“Pinching back,” or grazing,  just encourages more branching on each stem  The plant will grow thicker and larger.

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The essential oil which effects cats is called nepetalactone.  Although Catnip has a sedative effect in people, it is a mild hallucinogen for cats.

The effect is short lived, but potent for our feline friends.

Catnip dries easily, like any other summer herb.  Cut and dried, it can be saved for play on winter evenings.

Do you know this look?

Do you know this look?  I sometimes wish cats could smile-

Just a tiny amount will give your cat a happy playtime.

I keep a ziplock bag of it for tossing  toys in when he wants to play.

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He especially enjoys it on evenings too cold or wet for him to go outside and run.

You probably know already that Catnip is perfectly safe for cats. 

There are no harmful effects.  Cats are smart enough to know when to stop playing in it, and its effects wear off within a few minutes.

There are some medicinal uses for Catnip in humans, but it should always be avoided by women who may be pregnant.

Interestingly, Catnip is said to has proven more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET in trials.  It is perfectly safe to pick a few sprigs to rub over the skin when working outside.

Almost hidden...

Almost hidden…

Catnip is among the herbs brought to North America by English settlers in the 17th Century.  It is actually native to Europe and Asia.

Its leaves and stems  have proven effective in repelling other insects which may try to invade the kitchen….  You can sprinkle dried Catnip , or lay freshly harvested stems and leaves in areas where ants or other insects may try to enter your home.

Easy to grow, perennial Nepeta cataria likes full sun and moist soil.

When it blooms in another week or so this mass of Catnip will be covered in happy insects enjoying its nectar.

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Whether you have a feline friend to please, or not; this is a beautiful plant in the garden.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

After enjoying the Catmint, Ollie loves to roll around and hope to be petted.

After enjoying his  Catnip our cat  loves to roll around.

 

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