The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
North Creek Nurseries offers a plant called Meehania cordata or Meehan’s mint.
Barry Glick from Sunshine Farm and Garden first told me about this plant in an email several years ago. He mentioned the bright colorful flowers of blue.
This low-growing plant, which reaches only a few inches high, belongs to the mint family, so we know that it has to be kept in bounds in your garden.
It loves shade, even deep shade. Glick wrote in his email to me “Meehania cordata is one of the best plants I can think of for those dark and foreboding corners of the garden where there isn’t enough light for most other plants.”
What interests me in the plant, however, is its name.
American botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton (1859-1934) named this mint after the nineteenth century Philadelphia nurseryman, writer, and editor Thomas Meehan.
In 1894 Meehan notes the name in his magazine Meehan’s Monthly. He wrote: “Prof. Britton has been going over carefully the genus Cedronella and finds that C. cordata of Eastern North America cannot be considered as a Cedronella at all, but should be the representative of an entirely different genus. He compliments the senior conductor of this magazine by dedicating the new genus to him as Meehania cordata.”
Meehan is an early horticulturist who I admire because of his ability to edit a garden publication for over thirty years. Not an easy task.
I have read his magazine and must say I am amazed at how he was able to assemble a number of articles, many of which he wrote while the others originated with his several correspondents around the world.
He embodies the contribution of the nineteenth century garden industry to American gardening.
Here is a picture of Mr. Meehan [right].
In 1861 he wrote in his magazine: “No man works more in the immediate presence of his Creator than the gardener.”
Meehan, ever a friend to the gardener, pioneered the garden industry in this country. We honor him to this day with a mint that bears his name.