Tag Archives: monarda

Blooming In Mid-September Part 2

A walk around the garden yesterday revealed so many interesting blooms for mid-September, I wanted to continue documenting the state of the garden as Autumn approaches.

Cottage Garden Feeling Along the Southern Border

Salvia ‘Blue Sky,’ a “bring-along” plant from the former Wave Road garden, sometimes spreads too much for its surroundings, but it is easily manageable. Reaching about 5 feet tall, it brings height and a cottage-like feel to the garden to the southern section of the border.

In the same area an old-fashioned sweet pea is paired with the ‘Blue Sky’ salvia evoking a nostalgic effect. This pairing occurred through happenstance, rather than planning. The sweet pea also made its way here from the Wave Road garden.  It was one of many “pass-along” plants from a dear cousin.

Not blooming, but worth a mention here while visiting the southern border, is this year’s new evergreen privacy hedge. The five ‘Blue Point’ Junipers installed in late February are growing well. They were chosen because they are deer-resistant and drought-tolerant and this seems to be the case. After these junipers were planted, the fence was added also as part of the garden renovation project. It is hard to remember how bare this area looked before these improvements.

A few feet down the border is a small stand of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’  This salvia blooms well when given plenty of water and recents rains have brought out a plethora of deep richly-hued blue flowers.

Tanacetum vulgare (Common Tansy), a pass-along plant from a former work colleague, has a pretty little yellow flower this week.  Skin contact with tansy causes a rash. A non-native it also is fairly aggressive and is difficult to remove once it spreads.


The heat and drought set in just as the red gladioli should have bloomed this summer. They dried up quickly.  Apparently this one bid its time and waited for more moderate conditions. Discovered too late to bring inside, the gladiolus hid itself and is leaning into a large group of woody-stemmed chrysanthemums, which will have yellow blossoms in mid-October.

A surprise Monarda (Bee Balm) in the side garden contributes a spot of deep red next to an underperforming Pink Muhly Grass.

To Be Continued

Mid-September Blooms will be continued.

July Flowers

Rainstorms swept through the region this week, missing this garden more times than not. Big splats, soft mists, ominous thunder, but often it was not even damp under the trees by the end. The flowers seem revived nevertheless and the first of the Cleome (Spider Flower) and Canna opened.

There is a lot of activity in the borders. Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) is popular with a great variety of bees, moths and other insects. Hummingbirds regularly visit the Monarda (Bee Balm) while American Goldfinches enjoy Verbena Bonariensis.

Unfortunately deer jumped the new fence this week to nibble on the daylilies and to devour a container of ornamental Sweet Potato Vines, putting an end to thoughts of keeping the daylilies and even reintroducing Phlox paniculata ‘David’ to the borders.

Among the interesting blooms in the garden this week are:

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’
Shasta Daisy
Salvia ‘Blue Sky’

After A Brief Rain

Some quick showers passed through mid-afternoon yesterday, first bringing large, heavy drops, but ending with a soft sunshower.

Views Of The Late June Garden

Gone is the lush, verdant freshness that characterized the garden in spring.  Summer has arrived.

High temperatures and lack of rainfall are taking a toll on the garden’s charm and beauty as many plants begin to dry and yellow. The grass is browning quickly.

Though the garden has peaked for this year, there remain a few spots of interest.  One such spot is a borrowed view: a neighbor’s striking row of sunflowers add a happy whimsy.

Closer to home, spikes of Liatris Spicata ‘Alba’ contribute interesting texture and plantings of Shasta Daisy, Monarda, and Echinacea add drifts of color, but the garden definitely is losing its overall cohesiveness.

Part of this year’s garden renovation is to evaluate the garden in every stage, through every transition, and to decide how to improve the plantings, extend the blooming period.  Finding success in redesign will allow the garden graceful ways to peak, rest, and recover throughout each season.

In the meditation circle Angelonia angustifolia (summer snapdragon) provides dramatic color, especially the Angelface® Blue.  Ten more angelonia, purchased at a great sale price from Southern States, were added to the labyrinth last Friday.  They are a lighter shade, Wedgwood Blue, but should contribute blooms until the first frost.

The Rudbeckia Hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ has formed buds and will soon add some bright yellow at the back of the west border.

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A Piedmont Native – Bee Balm

Monarda (Bee balm)

Monarda didyma (Bee Balm) began blooming in the garden this week and hummingbirds found it right away.

Native to much of eastern North American, this perennial grows in full sun to about 4 feet tall, has square stems and fragrant, tubular red flowers.

Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Monarda
Species: M. didyma

June Vignettes

June arrived as temperatures are approaching, but not yet surpassing, historic records. Yesterday’s 96 degrees forced the tip of the tall digitalis (foxglove) to simply curl over, leaving the plant in the shape of a shepherd’s crook.  Later in the evening it had straightened itself to it’s usual dignified, stately form.

Predictions calling for temperatures to reach near-100 today swayed me to break my anti-watering stance this morning. The new shrubs and perennials especially need a bit of nurturing against this heat for a while longer. Besides, spending early moments in the garden is one of the nicest ways to enjoy the serenity of the space, while providing an opportunity to make mental notes of the accumulating garden chores.

Bees, butterflies, birds, blooms and scents make the garden a special place. Monarda (Bee Balm), Blue Sky Salvia and gardenia are the latest flowers to open in the garden.  I knew the gardenias had opened before I saw them, with their unparalleled fragrance wafting through the early morning air; monarda smells wonderful in its own minty fresh way.


In early spring first the lenten roses, then the daffodils and spirea dominated the garden. By mid-April the first bearded iris had opened. Now, three and a half weeks later, a few irises, along with the old-fashioned rose and the clematises, remain in bloom.  Take a quiet stroll around the perennial beds and it is easy to notice the garden again is in transition.

Verbena bonariensis

A verbena bonariensis is blooming and echinacea (purple coneflower) are beginning to open.

Several foxgloves are forming their complex flowers. Nearby an ‘Irish eyes’ rudbeckia already has reached two of its expected five feet.

The monarda (bee balm) also is tall and seems primed for a big display of red and fragrance.

A soft gray mound of artemisia accents the border and a perennial Dusty miller is creeping through the garden. Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) will soon add its bright reddish-orange color to the blue palette that has predominated the garden in early spring.


The very tips of the white tubular flowers of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) are becoming visible.

These two penstemon are planted inside the meditation path forming a wall at one of the turnaround points.


One of the small pink yarrow is just beginning to open among the lamb’s ears. Rising only 10-15 inches, it has a lacy flower and a dark green, feathery-soft foliage.

Lavender will soon be adding its beautiful color and unique fragrance to several locations. The lavenders responded positively to severe pruning in February.


A Garden Highlight

An exciting highlight is the single bloom on the peony recently added to the garden, Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait.’  Although its planting tag indicated a June bloom, it was ready yesterday without regard to the calendar, as was the gardener.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Changes Bring Chores

As the focus transitions away from roses and irises there are many required tasks this week that will help keep the garden looking nice. The faded iris blooms and the bloom stalks need to trimmed back to tidy up, although the leaves need to remain for several months before being trimmed back to 6 inches in a fan shape. Is this the year the irises will finally get divided?

Rose Campion

The southern path is full of white rose campion, but none of the favored magenta-hued rose campion survived the winter.  Deadheading is a must if they are to continue to look attractive and to keep them from self-sowing so heavily.

The many Eastern Red Columbine is done for this year and needs to be cut back severely; it will maintain a nice green mound all summer.

Tradescantia is pretty now but needs to be thinned, as it has spread too widely. Many were sheared heavily ten days ago. The daylilies, the sweet peas–all overgrown.  The spirea finished its bloom weeks ago and should be pruned back hard to maintain its size. Other chores abound.  The fence installation was completed last week and paths to the gates need to be improved.

How to finish planting the meditation circle is still an interesting problem to solve, something to ponder while working on these maintenance tasks this week and contemplating transitions.