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Perennial Flower Information

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MONARDA—Bee Balm, Bergamot, Horse Mint

Hardy herbaceous perennial plants which grow wild in North America and belong to the Mint family, Labiatae. The name commemorates Nicolas Monardes, a Spanish botanist.


These plants flourish in ordinary garden soil, and may be planted in autumn or spring. They are easily propagated by lifting the clumps, preferably in early spring, separating them into rooted pieces and replanting the latter at about 18 in. apart. Natural species, but not improved garden varieties, are also easily raised from seeds sown in spring.


The favorite kind is Monarda didyma (Oswego Tea) a plant w'hich has aromatic leaves, and in summer bears heads of red flowers on leafy stems about 2 ft. in height. It is an attractive plant for the herbaceous border and wild garden and spreads quickly, soon forming a good-sized clump.


Other Good Kinds. The Lemon Mint, Mo­narda pectinata, bears rose-pink blooms on stems about 2 ft. high. The plant called Wild Berga­mot, Monarda fistulosa, is more vigorous and will reach a height of 3-4 ft. in good soil; the flowers are of lilac or purplish coloring. Other kinds are sometimes grown in wild gardens. All have aromatic leaves, and flower from July onwards.


In addition to the wild species there are several fine garden varieties of Monarda, notably Cambridge Scarlet, scarlet; Croftway Pink, pink; Mrs. Perry, crimson-red; Adam, red; Mahogany, very deep red; and violacea superba, purplish.
After two or three years the old plants of Monarda often become bare in their centers, and it is a good plan to lift them in early autumn and separate them into pieces for replanting. The weak middle parts o'f the plants should be discarded, the young outer portions alone being replanted.

 

 

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