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Moving Schipka Laurel for Rhododendron 'Loderi King George'

Picture it - a 6 ft. tall Schipka Laurel used to stand here (I forgot to take a "before" shot and don't feel like searching for one).  I knew when I planted it that it was probably a bad idea but thought it would be good for a fast-growing screen along the back fence-row. I'm sure all gardeners do this, especially if you have a new garden and are eager for greenery. In all fairness to the laurel, it is a useful plant and I would argue even a beautiful one when nicely maintained. Before I dug this one up, I stood back and admired it and felt the guilt pangs stabbing at my heart.  I removed a much larger laurel than this a few years ago and they are not the easiest plant to dig out. I was determined to save this one and I believe I was successful.  Here is a thought and you can take this to the bank - the pot you choose to hold a plant that you dig up will ALWAYS be too small. Always!  So, after finding the largest pot I could, here it is, after being cut back pretty dr

Badja Peak Mint Bush

Every time we have a garden tour, there seems to be one plant that people single out and ask about. This time, it was  Prostanthera cuneata 'Badja Peak', commonly referred to as "Alpine Bush Mint" or "Australian Bush Mint" (originating from Alpine regions of Australia).

This small shrub was planted in July of 2021 so this is its second year (I mistakenly told someone it had been here three years - sorry!) It is located in the front garden on the northeast side and has survived two winters. Most references recommend planting it in a warm, sheltered spot but this isn't really the case in our garden. It is listed as being hardy to 10-15 degrees.

Our plant gets considerable shade with periods of full sun around mid-day and some afternoon sun but I would say it gets more shade than sun. This year it is about 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide with a somewhat sprawling habit. The evergreen foliage is dark green and minty aromatic when crushed. Flowers began to appear in late May. The flowers are large, cupped and white with purple flecks inside the flower. Very pretty!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I hope you had a successful open garden: I wish you lived closer to Seattle so I could visit. This "Australian Bush Mint" is lovely (evergreens brighten the spirit in winter) and vigorous: 4' wide in 2 years! What's it's supposed eventual size?

    1. We had around 85 people I think. It was super busy and a nice pleasant day for it. It can get anywhere from 3-5 feet from what I've read.

  2. I love the way Australian Bush Mint surrounds your bird bath. So pretty!

  3. Thank you for the introduction to this interesting plant, Phillip. I grow Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata" (also called mint bush) but I'd never heard of this one. Mine produces small lavender blooms, although before this year they've bloomed lightly, if at all. (I'll once again attribute the difference this year to our heavier rain.) I'll be on the lookout for your species.

  4. That's a beauty. The flowers are quite something. It looks very happy in your garden.

    "Alpine" doesn't usually come to mind when paired with "Australia", but of course there's more to Australia than arid regions and sandy beaches.

  5. Those blooms look like small orchids. Are they fragrant? They remind me of Catalpa tree blooms.


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