Herb Discussion: Monarda Didyma Bergamot - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-01-2002, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.thegardenhelper.com/monardat.jpg

This is yet another of my favorite herbs. We have a wild variety flowering that is lavender at the farm. I wish I would have taken a picture before it went to seed. It is growing to the point of needing to be weeded out of the bed.

The parts of this plant which are used are the leaves. You can boil them to make a tea which is very flavorful and medicinally good for fevers, stomach aches and a good nights sleep.

The smell is incredible and very much like bergamot (which is really a citrus). Anyone who has tried earl grey tea knows what bergamot smells like.

In the garden this plant is a giant. It grows to 3-4 feet and attracts bees and hummingbirds galore!! At the nursery I had to take the hose out and spray ours off so customers could get a pot of monarda in spite of the bees. They just will not leave these plants alone when in flower!

It seems to like it damp and sunny in the summer (hard to manage here in South Ga). It also likes rich soil. You can get a second flowering if you prune it back gently after the first flush of flowers before it sets seed. In the fall prune it back to about an inch of the ground.

I am growing some in pots for next year. I have heard these make great container plants. We will see.

USES FOR BERGAMOT
Tea
Facial steams and herb baths
mixed in with salad greens
potpourri
pork dishes

I have to admit, as much as I love this plant, she is one I have not really gotten into using as much as my other plants. I am on a mission this year to really get to know my Monarda.
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Old 07-01-2002, 08:10 PM
 
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This herb is also known as bee balm.
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Old 07-03-2002, 01:55 PM
 
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I have monarda is three beautiful colors so far - a wild looking hybrid all light purple pink, "Cambridge Scarlet" and deep purple "Prairie Night." Are the hybrids okay to use medicially or in teas? They seem to have very fragrant leaves as well. Waddya think?

I'm starting a couple of big beds of monarda for when I start bee-keeping. So far a fantasy.. but that's were reality starts!
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Old 07-03-2002, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would think the hybrids would work medicinally. Especially if they are as fragrant. I dont think hybridization does anything mroe than just genetically select favorable qualities like flower color. That should leave the viable alkaloids the same in the plant.


I am trying to get a friend to bring his bee boxes out to the farm every year, tho we have no shortage of bees and butterflies. I guess that is one of the advantages of being the biggest and nicest garden in the area. We are THE restaurant for pollinating bugs. I love it.

Ohh and if you want more plants loved by bees, our Thyme var. Longwood is a real winner. The flowers almost look black from all of the bees!!! Perhaps I will snap a photo and put that up next month!
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Old 07-03-2002, 04:24 PM
 
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I love bee balm (monarda)! I have huge patches growing in three different spots in the yard. I also have a petite cultivar (only about 2-3 feet tall, and they call that petite!) in a cool bright pink. The only thing that is less than ideal is that it is very invasive. I actually withhold fertilizer and find it doesn't spread quite as rampantly if I don't water it much. I divide it and give clumps to friends each fall or spring. I have a big patch of it right next to the front door that dh hates because of the bees, but it looks so striking - I love it! I never use it for anything but its beauty.
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Old 07-04-2002, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you use your bee balm in teas or such?
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Old 07-07-2002, 11:38 AM
 
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I've got some red and pink monarda that I like. I need to divide and move it all over the place. The hummingbirds love it. I think they go nicely with rugosa roses, or other wildish roses.

I've also got a hybrid called "bluestocking" that I don't like. It's kind of a sickly purple that doesn't go well with green, in my opinion.
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