Raspberry Fields Forever

The most noticeable blooms in the front garden at this moment are those of ‘Raspberry Wine’ Bee Balm (Monarda didyma). It’s really dominating the Sidewalk Border.


At 4 feet tall, it makes a sort of low hedge if you let it. Like Bee Balms generally, it likes sun and moist soil. ‘Raspberry Wine’ spreads assertively but not rapaciously. The rich raspberry-red flowers will not allow you to ignore them, however.

DSC_0638The closely related Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), with smaller lavender-colored flowers, is in the same border. It seems, however, that it is losing ground to ‘Raspberry Wine’ in the endless botanical struggle for territory.

Fortunately, there is a very large patch of Wild Bergamot in the Driveway Border, where it is able to hold its own against all competitors. They get a little more shade over there and are not yet blooming.

DSC_0655Here’s a view from the sidewalk.

DSC_0631Stepping up a little closer. I’m quite pleased with how the front door looks to be framed by colorful plants on three sides. Now if I could only get the Clematis to grow across the wall above the door.

DSC_0690Speaking of which, in case you’re wondering, the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is still meeting all my daily requirements for looking at purple stuff.

That’s all for now.

29 Comments on “Raspberry Fields Forever

  1. The monarda looks great! I have this one too and even though it becomes a mess of mildew in my garden I still keep it around.

  2. What a great colour, really effective. I think it’s too dry here to grow this Monarda, sadly. Your clematis is still packing a punch!

  3. Never had luck with bee balm either and I have wet soil. Not sure what the problem was but lately I am thinking that voles have been more of an issue than I realized in years past.

  4. The only place I can grow bee balm is in the backyard, and it’s not as glorious as yours is. Still, what a beautiful patch of red.

  5. Beautiful!! Raspberry Wine is on my list. My bee balm (fistulosa) isn’t blooming yet here in MA – I’m looking forward to seeing what insects it attracts.

  6. Love that colour – can you elaborate on what you mean when you say that it spreads aggressively but not rapaciously? Would I be fighting to keep it in check each year or is it just a matter of pulling up any that self-seed?

  7. Both the Monarda and Clematis are lovely…I would be thrilled to have them in my garden! (I do have a purple blooming Clematis but so far no flowers…)

  8. Everything looks beautiful. I love purple and there’s a whole wee bed of purple, but wondering and hoping as Iris gets big and blooms what color it is-I forgot when I moved it from another place…hoping to break up the purple. It’s too much, need to throw in an orange!

  9. It looks like your Jack would gladly climb across the top of your door with a little encouragement. Raspberry is yummy looking.

  10. Your Monarda Rasberry Wine look fantastic. They don´t do well in my soil, as it is too dry. Your clematis is also gorgeous. What a colour.

  11. Hello Jason, the Clematis Jackmanii is absolutely stunning and I love how it flowers on both sides. We have a much younger, less spectacular specimen that is hanging its flowers over the rose arch. If it eventually grows to be even a fraction like yours, I’ll be happy!

  12. Those colors all pop–so pretty. I grow the Monarda fistulosa, which bloomed about a month ago, but mine gets mildew and isn’t nearly as colorful.

    • Exactly, they really do pop. ‘Rapberry Wine’ is a variety that is more resistant to mildew, at least in the Chicago area. But they do tend to get powdery mildew at some point late in the summer.

  13. Ah the Clematis…. Wonderful! I remember it from last year, a nice new challenge to get it growing overhead.

  14. “Looking at purple stuff”–that is an important part of gardening, isn’t it? I’ve been contemplating planting some Monarda here, but I’m not sure I have enough sun for it. Maybe I’ll start it in a pot and see how it does in my dappled shade/part shade conditions. And now we have a little more sun, so maybe that will allow it to work. I do love Monarda fistulosa and Monarda punctata, and so do the pollinators!

  15. I just love monarda, in all it’s different colours. That clematis looks like it wants to go above the door, a little netting and it will be away!xxx

  16. I have the same monardas and I love them, as do the hummers. 🙂 Have you thought of building a pergola over the doorway for the clematis to scramble over?

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