Catnip: My secret weapon in the garden (+ giveaways!)

Hello and welcome! I am so excited to be part of  the 5th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. Thanks for stopping by to visit little ole me out here in the Great Plains of the US.

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

I write contemporary western romance…basically, smart women meet yummy cowboys and sexy fun ensues. Some of the stories are romantic comedies, others involve sizzling forbidden loves, and my Christmas novella is a sweet, clean romance. All of my novels involve life on the prairie, where people are outdoors all the time (whether they’re riding horses or skinny dipping).

My favorite part of the Great Plains is all the vibrant plant life that Mother Nature bestows on us, sprinkling purple chicory along the roadsides, red and white clover through the fields, elderberry in the ditches, and every color of coneflower imaginable wherever there’s even a smidge of dirt and a hint of rain. I’m particularly fond of the majestic goldenrod and the purple loosestrife…just thinking about the vibrant fields of color makes me smile.

But with Mother Nature putting on such a spectacular show, my own garden quite honestly pales in comparison. Plus, all the luscious flowers attract deer, rabbits, woodchucks, skunks, squirrels, possum, mice, and birds (birds galore!), who line up for the free buffet line that I call my garden.

So what’s a gal to do?

I take a cue from Mother Nature herself and incorporate a variety of herbs in and around my garden. I surround my garden area with catnip to ward off mice and other creepy crawlies (like skeeters!). I love the lemony smell when I walk through the bushes (which can grow well above the knees if left to their own devices), and my cats love me when I return to the house. I always harvest a bit for the kitties before the catnip gets too mature and dry the leaves to help alleviate any boredom among my three felines. One healthy catnip plant usually provides enough dried catnip to last through the winter, and I bag up any extra for my friends’ kitties.

But catnip is great for humans as well. A cup of catnip tea before bed helps me sleep through the night. The tea and leaves can also help with headaches as well as flushing toxins from the body. There’s a whole host of benefits from this hardy plant that is covered with white flowers once mature.

The thing is, just like everything thing out here on the plains, catnip serves many purposes. It keeps critters away (some say it is as much as 10 times stronger than DEET), helps entertain my cats, and provides health benefits for the humans. The plant gives off a pleasantly fresh smell and is pretty darn easy to grow, even for someone like me (whose thumb leans more to the black than the green).

Of course, a few caveats: I am not a medical professional, so please do your own research before using/ingesting catnip. Also, be careful re-introducing yourself to your kitties if you’ve been out in the catnip. Some of my felines have been known to attach themselves to my legs the minute I walk in the door. Make sure you protect yourself from kitties easily excited by catnip (they really can’t help themselves, you know…and they don’t mean to latch on so tightly with their teeny tiny claws ::shudder::).

My other favorite plant in the wild is nettles, but I’ll have to save that post for next year. 😉

If you think you might enjoy my romance stories, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and enter the giveaway for my latest book, So Wills the Heart (read more about this book as well as reviews). Although all my stories are set in the same small towns, they are standalone books (and psst…you can nab the first e-book in the series, Vibrant Heart, free at your favorite retailer).

Once again, thanks for stopping by to visit, and now—on to the goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to enter the blog hop’s GRAND PRIZE drawing for a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a 2nd prize of a $25 gift card.

To enter, leave a comment (and include your contact email in case you win) below. Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible to win. Eligibility will be verified by hop’s end. Winners will be posted on both the first (Dianne Venetta) and last (BloominThyme) websites.

48 thoughts on “Catnip: My secret weapon in the garden (+ giveaways!)

  1. Think I’ll be adding a catnip plant to my garden this year. Thanks for the suggestion. I enjoy lavender plants. I have about…oh ten…around my house. Just a brush through them and I smell the scent all day. I’ve also added the leaves to lotions and finely crushed in lemon sugar cookies, the fragrance and little hint of lavender are divine.
    Hope Mother Nature starts acting nice to all of us.
    Off to another Hop!

    1. Ooh, I love lavender plants too. Unfortunately, they don’t love me too much and prefer to shrivel up instead of enjoy my company. 🙁 My go-to indoor plant is rosemary. I love love LOVE the smell (although I am not terribly fond of the taste). Nothing makes me feel quite as awake and alive as the smell of rosemary. And it’s good for the memory!

  2. I love catnip, too. It grows very easily and makes a great perennial, unless like me you have outdoor cats who also love it, maybe a little TOO much. They basically roll on it so much that the plant doesn’t come back the next year, so I have to replant. 🙂 cchant86 @

    1. Yes, I have some ferals who like to come explore the catnip. Luckily I have wild catnip FORESTS all over the acreage, so plenty for everyone. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with the drawings~

  3. Catnip is a great idea. Do you have any ideas on plants that repel flies, lol? We have some of those hog confinement systems. so near and dear to Iowans’ hearts, close by. Sigh. I love lavender, too. I’m stubborn, trying again this year to raise some from seed. The only time I had good luck with it was when I bought plants, but some people never learn. Love this post. Lots of wonderful sense details. And just thinking about a garden makes me feel better…

    1. I’ve always had the best luck with repelling flies with basil — sounds like you need to plant a wall of basil and let it go wild 😉 I am much better at gardening when I am enjoying what Mother Nature has planted for me. When I try to coax something out of the earth, the coaxee is not very accommodating. 😉

  4. I love coffee mulch. It makes the garden smell like fresh coffee grounds…perfect for me as I love coffee!

    1. When I lived closer to a city, I would get free used coffee grounds from the coffee shops. Loved being able to “recycle” for mulch. (Unfortunately, I am one of those rare birds who doesn’t like the taste of coffee — love the smell, but not the taste — so I don’t make coffee myself). Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thank you! I’ve never heard about catnip being used that way and I didn’t know it was ok for humans to ingest.

    kissedbymidnight AT

    1. Again, I am not a medical professional, so due diligence is required (especially for pregnant women, etc.), but catnip tea is quite tasty and soothing. Just the smell puts me instantly at ease (clearly, I am not a cat — LOL). Thanks for stopping by & good luck in the drawings~

  6. Thanks for the hints about catnip. Also for the blog hop-I get introduced to a lot of authors I have yet to read.

    1. That the fun of the blog hops, right? 😉 Thanks for stopping & good luck in the drawings!

    1. I learned the value of catnip pretty quick when I discovered it growing on my acreage…and a few plants quickly turned into forests. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by & good luck in the drawings!

  7. I have a patch of catnip growing. I will dry a lot of it for the kitties but I have made a cup of tea from it too.

    sienkiel1821 at yahoo dot com

    1. Yay! And I bet your kitties are so happy 🙂 Thanks for stopping by & good luck in the drawings!

    1. Just make sure to plant a little extra for the kitties (your own or those in your community that might discover your “stash” LOL). Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawings~

  8. I did not know there were more uses for Catnip besides entertaining one’s cat. I learn so much going through these blog hops.

  9. I’ve tried to grow catnip but haven’t had much luck so far. I have TONS of cat mint in my yard, but my furry friend is definitely not interested in that. I’ll have to give it another go. Thanks for participating in the hop!

    1. Aww…and I don’t think I could stop the catnip from growing in my yard (meanwhile, the one time I tried growing cat mint, it died a quick and painful death). Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawings~

  10. I have catnip plants in my vegetable garden! I keep a jar of dried catnip in the house for my cat. 🙂 He loves it!

    Thanks for participating in the Hop!

    Happy Spring!

    sprocket 215 at g mail dot com

    1. My cats love to converge on my 70-lb dog after he’s been out running through the wild catnip. It’s quite hilarious to see his face while getting such attention. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawings!

  11. I have to wonder…doesn’t that attract the neighborhood cats? (we have trouble with ‘gifts’ left in the yard, lol. Thanks for the giveaway!

    elewkf1 at yahoo dot com

    1. Mine doesn’t seem to attract any unwanted kitties, but you do have to activate the smell for them (by rubbing the leaves or brushing up against the plants). Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawings!

  12. Hello Corrissa, nice to meet you ♡ I never knew people could ingest catnip. Thank you Linda Romer isisthe12th (at)gmail (dot)com

    1. I think it’s funny that it excites my kitties but calms me down. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawings!

  13. I love the Catnip idea. I definitely going to use it! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I always have some night blooming jasmine somewhere near my screened porch — I LOVE the way it smells!

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

    1. We’re getting lots of rain this week, so I am hoping the wildflowers will be popping soon! Thanks for stopping by!

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