Friday, 24 August 2012

Show - Stoppers


Have you noticed how that each flower show seems to have its own signature plant? This year at the Southport Flower Show, monardas or bergamot were very much the flavour of the day. They were leaping out everywhere you looked and were most enticing in a variety of hues of pinks, red, violet, lavender, purple and white. Sadly some of the specimens for sale were almost triffid like in their proportions - far too long and leggy but we eventually managed to track down some short and sturdy plants. I came home with a couple of plants of monarda 'Fireball' which you can see above. 'Fireball' is apparently a compact plant which is not as susceptible to mildew as some of the other monardas. My plants are now ensconced in the holding bay. I already have a couple of monardas - 'Gardenview Scarlet' which grows at the allotment and 'Prairie Night' and have clocked another couple for the wish list.

As well as providing invaluable late summer colour, being bee and butterfly magnets, monardas have most deliciously scented foliage. In her book 'Cottage Garden Flowers' Margery Fish wrote ; "The foliage of bergamot has a most beguiling perfume. It does not need to be picked up or touched to fill the air around with its haunting fragrance. Even in the depths of winter it makes its presence known if one is working in a border where it grows, when very often there is scarcely a leaf showing. I often feel that one ought to make more use of this gift from Heaven. True one can put a leaf in the teapot and change the flavour of ordinary tea into something more exotic, a few sprigs among the sheets with give lasting fragrance, and it gives the necessary bite to pot - pourri that nothing else can supply." You can add chopped leaves sparingly to salads and use them to flavour jams and jellies. Finally if all that isn't enough reason to find room for a monarda in your garden, the birds enjoy the rounded seedheads come the autumn.

16 comments:

  1. I've never grown monardas, I should really get one for the bees and butterflies, they need all the help they can get. The one in the photo is a gorgeous pink, it will certainly give you plenty of colour in the garden.

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    1. Well worth trying if you have some space Jo and much appreciated by flying creatures.It's a vivid colour but I think that it is more red in tone than the photo suggests.

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  2. I love monardas - and so do the bees and butterflies. We have several, in red, pinks, white and purple, they smell lovely too as you brush past them in the border. Fireball looks beautiful. S

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  3. I've got a clump of a monarda, cant' remember which, but the flowers have been decimated by slugs. They've crawled all the way to the top of the plant and chewed the flowers to bits. They are such gorgeous plants as well and I love the colour of 'Fireball'.

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    1. Those molluscs have certainly had a field day this year WW. Hope that your monarda flourishes next summer.

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  4. I really ought to try them as they are so bee and butterfly friendly, don't know why I haven't all these years, something to be rectified next year. I will start with just one and see how we get on together!

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    1. That sounds like a good plan Pauline - I'm sure you will be hooked.

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  5. I've got an ordinary red monarda and Prairie Night, which I was amazed came through the winter and is flowering well now (it said semi-hardy on the label but fortunately it didn't read it!).

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    1. That's the best thing about plants isn't it Su - they never seem to read the instructions :)

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  6. I love monardas, but they always got mildew in my last garden. Maybe I should try again, there are such lovely varieties around.

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    1. Mildew can be a problem Janet though some monardas are now now being bred that are apparently less susceptible. 'Fireball' is one of these but I'm not convinced. Will report back in due course :)

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  7. I lost my Monarda - but I really must try again - like Janet they always seemed to get bad mildew.
    (Note to self plan for some Monarda next year)

    It is strange how at each show there seems to be one plant that is on every single stand.
    K
    xx

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    1. Oh do have another go Karen - would fit in well with your late summer planting. Yes highlighting one plant seems to be a feature of all the shows. Last year's Southport special if my memory serves me well was the penstemon.

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  8. After visiting Stone House this week monardas and phlox are on my wish list. I have had monarda before but it got crowded out and I think they like space. The owner of Stone House told me that the border the phlox amd monarda were in had only the one season of interest because of this. I have been looking at their requirements and of course it is the moist well drained soil which remains a mystery to me. However, I have decided to have a small border area for them alone so we shall see.

    Hope yours do well

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    1. They are definitely one season plants Helen although the monardas do have attractive seed heads. Monardas do spread quickly but are easily divided in spring. Look forward to hearing about how yours fare when you have found and planted them.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.