Thursday, 31 December 2015

Plant of the Year 2015: Monarda 'Gewitterwolke'


Monarda 'Gewitterwolke', October, with Miscanthus 'Yakushima Dwarf'
Last year my friend Jimi Blake, from Hunting Brook Gardens in Co. Wicklow, brought me a selection of Monarda cultivars that he had found to be good additions to his regularly changing garden assortment. Among them was the German selection 'Gewitterwolke' - the name means "thundercloud", which he particularly rated. This spring space was found to accommodate the small plant in the main border: it motored ahead and with a judicious pinching-out of the shoots quickly formed a nice multi-branched plant, nestling between Miscanthus 'Yakushima Dwarf' and Aruncus 'Horatio', which between them have given it the perfect setting for the rest of the year. It is perhaps because it worked so well with the surrounding plants that it caught my eye repeatedly through the season, and thus has become my Plant of the Year 2015.

The dusky flowers and bracts must have suggested the name; here 'Gewitterwolke'  is seen in August with Dahlia 'Freya's Paso Doble' behind, another candidate for Plant of the Year.

Evening light just catching the flowers. Aruncus 'Horatio' behind and Dahlia 'Twynings Revel' beyond (Plant of the Year 2013)

Another very pleasing combination was formed with Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Orangofield'
Another excellent Monarda also deserves a mention - 'Scorpio', a Piet Oudolf selection that plays a big part in his plantings at nearby Scampston Hall, where I got the plant from, in fact (promptly split and shared with Jimi). It's a slightly brighter purple and stood a bit higher than 'Gewitterwolke' this year (next year may even them out), and made - and makes - a superb contribution to the garden. Both are supposedly mildew resistant, though they both had some mildew by late September or early October, but insufficient to be unsightly or cause diminished growth. Such mildew-resistance is essential in any Monarda I'll choose in future.

Monarda 'Scorpio' in August

'Scorpio' (bottom right) still looking great in early October.

Seeding heads of 'Gewitterwolke' standing firm this week, alongside (though not visible) the Miscanthus and Aruncus, despite best efforts of Storms Desmond to Fred over the past month. 'Scorpio' is also still in good vertical condition.


5 comments:

  1. Would love to grow Monardas, particularly as they're so attractive to bees etc, unfortunately the slugs seem to adore them too!

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  2. Would love to grow Monardas, particularly as they're so attractive to bees etc, unfortunately the slugs seem to adore them too!

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  3. Hi John- Ive just found your blog and look forward to having a read through! As always- my interest is slightly skewed towards the wildlife friendly plants- so can I kindly ask were you aware of if this Monarda was a hit with the bees etc? As looks gorgeous! Many thanks Owen R

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