Monarda a wonderful eyecatching plant for your garden
The hallmark – magenta plume. And the unusual taste of flowers that resemble bergamot in earl gray tea. It looks like a carnival cotillion from a distance. But it’s not just for decoration. Monarda is a close relative of thyme and mint – the Indians used it for runny nose, sore throats, heart disease and cuts. If we take good care of her, she will help us too.
It catches the eye from afar. The jagged flowers attract attention with their original shape and strong colors in shades of pink, red and purple. Its scent attracts bees and butterflies. She is pleasant even after drying, which is why the Cheyenne used her flowers as perfumes. But this is not the only advantage of the plant.
In addition to being pretty, it is useful in medicine: we can brew leaves and flowers. The tart, citrus aroma resembles a bergamot orange added to earl gray tea – hence the plant is often referred to as bergamot.
Monarda, which we admire in gardens, are usually crossbreeds of two species: Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa. The first of them, blooming in red, grows wild in North American forests and along streams, the second – pale pink – on the prairies and meadows. In addition, they do not differ much.
Bergamot are perennials, they durable winter conditions without major problems. They grow quickly and spread widely, forming lush clumps – up to a meter in height. It is best to plant them from rhizomes or cuttings, reproduction from seeds is rarely successful. We choose a sunny or semi-shaded position. Remember to provide them plenty of space because they do not like crush. Careful with drying. Pysznogłówka goes on medium fertile, well-drained soil, has a large appetite and requires solid fertilization every year – in the spring. After three to four years, it is worth dividing the rhizomes to rejuvenate the clump.
When does bergamot bloom?
It blooms in summer from June to September, depending on the variety. After the first flowering, it can be cut to force the second in autumn. An interesting effect is given by a multi-colored discount created from several varieties of bergamot. ‘Croftway Pink’ and ‘Neon’ are pink, ‘Scorpion’ dark pink, ‘Beauty of Cobham’ has a delicate lilac shade, and ‘Squaw’ and ‘Panorama’ boast a very saturated, crimson color.
Among the darkest varieties I would mention purple ‘Violet Queen’ and ‘Blue Wreath’ in deep purple. The cone seed pods also look great, they can be left for the winter, unless … we were unable to get rid of powdery mildew.
The white-gray, ugly coating is the earliest to appear on the leaves in mid-June. The sooner we react, the greater the chances that we will win with the parasite: we cover and burn infected leaves. Under no circumstances do we compost sick plants. We can use fungicides, but spraying must be started early before the disease spreads.
Note: this treat will no longer be suitable for tea.
Powdery mildew does not attack all varieties, although of course there is no rule. The lilac ‘Marshall’s delight’ is considered the most resistant. Similarly, ‘Violet Queen’, ‘Blue Wreath’ and ‘Squaw’. You can also take a chance with ‘Neon’ and ‘Scorpion’. In contrast, the light purple ‘Aquarius’, ‘Beauty of Cobham’, and ‘Croftway Pink’ very quickly fall victim to mushrooms.
Some plant alternately clusters of hardy and hardy varieties so that powdery mildew does not spread. However, I do not recommend this method, because resistant varieties may also eventually fall victim to the parasite. The best advice: do not overdry the prickly bean, do not plant it in too thick clumps, remember that it has the sun. Then we can enjoy it for many years.
Do you know that:
■ Plant leaves taste good with yerba mate, green, bergamot and black tea.
■ Herbal teas: For runny nose – brew with cone, lemon balm, eucalyptus, meadowsweet flower and mullein. Sore throat – brew with puff pastry, raspberry juice and honey. For influenza – infusions, acacia, sage, mint, marjoram, catnip, hyssop herb, violet herb, soapwort and oman root.
■ Pysznogłówka is Monarda (from the name of the Spanish doctor who first described her). Other names: American lemon balm, Indian headdress or bee balm.
■ American dotted herbalists make tincture from dotted. Great for decontaminating wounds, accelerates healing.
■ Not only for a discount: it also looks nice in a vase.
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