Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bergamot

This is Monarda didyma.   It is my all time favorite summer garden flower.  It is traditionally known as bergamot, but only because it smells like the citrus fruit, bergamot, the oil of which is used to infuse Earl Grey tea.   It's not really bergamot; it's really monarda.

I love it.  The butterflies love it.  The bees love it.   The hummingbirds love it.   The hummingbird moths love it.  It blooms the same time as the orange tigerlilies [native daylillies] and the tall purple hosta flowers.  

It smells divine - a citrusy spicy scent - and it dries beautifully.   If you cut the flowers, they'll just keep branching and blooming, so feel free to cut as many as you want for drying or bouquets.  The dried flowers are great in potpourri.  You can use the whole head or just the individual florets.

It likes damp feet, so you can find it wild around ditches and along creeks.    It's reasonably tolerant of a wide variety of soil types as long as it gets enough moisture.   It does not like dry weather or drought.   We get both the red and the lavender blooms wild around here.   I like the red ones and encourage it along the creeks.   

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