Glyn Bach Gardens holds a National Collection of Monarda; these beautiful plants grow well in the warm, wet, climate of West Wales. They are used throughout the garden to provide colour, form and nectar for our diverse and plentiful population of long tongued bumble bees. Short tongued bumble bees access the nectaries by chewing through the base of the flower and our honey bees access the nector via the same hole.
Didyma species are usually red in colour, although there are exception such as Croftway Pink and grow best in damp conditions. They originate from the New York swamp lands around the Oswego river. Easy to grow, these Monarda love to spread out from their rhizamous roots and provide a real splash of colour in June.
Fistulosa species are the largest grouping of Monarda cultivars and are pink, lilac, violet and purple predominately. While fistulosa cultivars like to be damp in the summer months, they dislike winter wet. Originating from the American prairies, they are kept protected and dry under a thick snow layer in Winter. We plant our fistulosa cultivars on a slope so the winter wet rolls away and replicates these conditions.
Bradburiana or Eastern Beebalm originate from the warmer states in the Southern USA. These cultivars are more tender, thrive in poorer soils and are drought tolerant. Some fistulosa cultivars have been been crossed with bradburiana to produce a plant which has greater mildew resistance.
(Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden)
Other Monarda species
There are a further 20 species of Monarda found throughout the USA. Few are used in modern cultivars, with the exceptions of:-
clinopodia which has been crossed with fistulosa to produce a white cultivar, for example, 'Snow White' and
citriodora, which has also been crossed to produce some beautiful plants but is predominately an annual, so the hybrids tend to be sown from seed. For example Monarda 'Lambada'.
How the Monarda collection is displayed
Click the photo for a better view