More Monardas, More Butterflies, and a Troll Bridge

‘Raspberry Wine’ Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) is the first of our Monardas to bloom.


I already did a post about its big luscious flowers. There are a couple of other Monardas in the garden, though.

825aFirst, there’s Wild Bergamot (M. fistulosa). Wild Bergamot has smaller, more demure flowers of lavender-blue. It blooms a bit later than ‘Raspberry Wine’. t’s more tolerant of drier soils than M. didyma varieties. It also tends to need more support, without which it may flop. Both plants grow 4-5 feet tall in our garden.

DSC_0778There’s a big patch of Wild Bergamot in the Driveway Border that combines nicely with the Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) just starting to bloom in the Front Island Bed. I


DSC_0785Like other Monardas, Wild Bergamot is loved by pollinators. This Black Swallowtail was feeding while Judy took pictures the other day.

816a‘Purple Rooster’ is another Monarda in our garden. It’s another Bee Balm (M. didyma), but shorter at about 3′ tall.

purple rooster 1The flowers are smaller and have a rich purple color that’s unusual for Monarda.

DSC_0831aHere it’s an underplanting for Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) in the Front Island Bed.

DSC_0824And that same Black Swallowtail wanted to try ‘Purple Rooster’ in addition to the Wild Bergamot.

DSC_0826I love this view of our front door from the sidewalk. You can see all three types of Monarda that we grow.

I almost forgot to add a few words about powdery mildew. Both ‘Raspberry Wine’ and ‘Purple Rooster’ have been pretty mildew resistant in my garden, as has the Wild Bergamot. That doesn’t mean they never get infected – most years the powdery mildew shows up in late August or in September, but it is generally not too bad.


On a totally different front, you may remember my little garden tableau inspired by the story Three Billy Goats Gruff. The only thing I was missing was a bridge for our troll. But finding a bridge of the right size was a challenge until Laurin of Ravenscourt Gardens suggested a source.

And now our troll has his bridge. What do you think?

34 Comments on “More Monardas, More Butterflies, and a Troll Bridge

  1. I didn’t used to be a fan of Monarda, but now that I’ve moved them into a sunnier spot in the garden it’s great. I love the colors of yours. I may need to add some more. The troll bridge is perfect !

  2. I never had any luck with bee balm,but I am eagerly awaiting the flowers of Joe Pye weed. Welcome butterflies.

  3. I too like your collection of mondardas. They look fabulous all blooming at one time. My daughter asked me what I wanted for a gift occasion one time and I told her a friendly looking gargoyle. This little troll as you call it is what she gave me. It sat at our side gate for years welcoming people. Now it sits by the water feature. It has been all around the garden. Your little guy looks good sitting there by a bridge to protect.

  4. The little bridge is perfect! I don’t have much Monarda growing in my garden, and seeing yours makes me want to add more. I did plant one ‘Raspberry Wine’ this spring; fingers crossed, it thrives and maybe even spreads a little.

  5. Your butterflies are stunning as are your Monardas! I must give them a go, iIve never tried growing Monardas, but I’m sure my butterflies would appreciate them.

  6. Oh yeah you got your bridge : ) I love Monarda! What a wonderful butterfly photo capture!!!

  7. Lovely Monardas! Your little bridge is perfect.
    (I had a flower arrangement on my dining table including dill from a friend. Was ready to pitch it out yesterday when I saw the swallowtail caterpillar on the last leaf. I transferred the caterpillar to my parsley patch and hope it makes it.)

  8. Now, I wonder who dare walk over that bridge… 😉 Love the Monarda. I gave up on it as the mildew was just too bad. One day I’ll try again.

    • Some varieties have turned out to be fairly mildew resistant, like ‘Raspberry Wine’, though I guess the resistance may vary with the cultural conditions of the garden.

  9. Love all the Monarda in your garden! And the bridge is very cute – still not sure about trolls, though! 🙂

  10. I have never seen monardas growing like that in such abundance and so healthy. Why don’t they get mildew? I am green with envy as I have failed miserably with them. And you have black swallowtail butterflies. There’s no justice in the world.

  11. Gorgeous flowers. I’m looking forward to the day when I’ve replaced my acre of plain lawn with carpets of luscious blooms. Until then I love looking at your photos. And I love the little bridge vignette. A garden should be full of color and whimsey. You’ve nailed it. 😉

  12. I have become a fan of monarda this year, I love all the varieties. Yours are lovely, especially the raspberry one, that is just coming through here. Beautiful swallowtail…..just LOVE your bridge!xxx

  13. Nice bridge, good to see your troll now has a purpose! I think there needs to be a path going to the bridge… this could get out of control…

  14. I also love that view from the front door to the sidewalk. Great colour combinations. The little bridge is magical, now you need to be on the lookout for 3 tiny billy goats.

  15. Good morning you two! I love Raspberry Wine. It’s a great one, and it rarely gets mildew in Oklahoma. I can’t say the same for my other monardas, but you know, I still love them all. They are such a lovely bright spot and so beloved by pollinators, I have to grow them. Hope you’re having a fabulous Sunday. Loved seeing you both at Fling.~~Dee

  16. The various monardas look great. Purple Rooster has such great color–I’ve never been tempted before to add another but will have to look into that one. Judy’s photos of Black Swallowtail are excellent.

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