Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Say it with me, Monarrrrrdaaaa Diddddyma

Looking out on this barren landscape of white shite I pondered what plant I miss the most. Without a doubt tis Beebalm aka Oswego Tea aka Horsemint aka Monarda Didyma. The last being the fave as it rolls off the tongue. The blossoms have always reminded of a 40’s feathery hat. One worn by that crazy aunt on Sundays decked out in white gloves and of course a string of pearls around her neck.

I’ve grown this plant for years or I should say it has grown itself. And it certainly does. Thriving in one area then come Spring you find it 2’ from the spot last seen in. One begins the task of gently easing the suckers out of the ground, then returning to its original place.

Monarrrrrda has to be the funkiest perennial. Square, yes, square, hollow stems reaching 2-4’ high and blossoms on top. If one is lucky another blossom will sprout from the original one both blooming in sync. It never fails to remind me of characters in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Don’t ask. :)

Clearing the garden in Spring one should always rake the plant. The leaves are used in Earl Grey tea and even after Winters sleep the scent is very strong. These may be harvested mid and late Summer, hung to dry and will see you thru til next growth.

Most of mine is the deep red though I have a much older plant of soft, light purple. Not as strong as the red but lovely planted with a Purple Sandcherry bush. The red is favoured by hummers, bees and butterflies. Hummers of course can fit their beaks perfectly in the individual blossom and will spend an hour sipping from each.

A bed of Monarrrrda also provides the bestest spot for a Summers pondering watching hummingbird toes but that tale is for another day...


  1. I find it best at times like this to close the blinds or curtains settle into an easy chair glass in hand and just let my mind wander to summer days.. and forget what is outside the door..

  2. Hi Cheryl, even the thought of hummingbird toes tickles the imagination. I do love your writing. :-) We have monarda here, the red and a light purple, they are a nice mix together and run into each other. I do not move them back when they stray though. They have never been a favorite, but for all the reasons you list, they will get another pondering and might move up in my esteem. Thanks for reminding me of their stellar qualitites.

  3. "Monarrrrrdaaaa Diddddyma "


    I think it reminds you of the "Who" people. Am I right??

  4. awwww confused, turn on your Kissiemuch lights for colour and don't forget the tinsel :D

    Frances, thank you! It tends to grow in patches here and I usually let it til it wanders in front of something much too short. Last summer it grew up between a golden hosta and was quite nice.

    Speeeeeedy, yup ya did say it gouda :D and you are so right on with the wee Whoooooo's :)



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