It’s a very peculiar thing. I used to have one clump of Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) in the Driveway Border, and now I have two.
You can see both clumps in this picture. They are at the end of the border closer to the house. The original clump is in the background, the new one in the foreground, closer to the brick path to the front door. Both clumps are about the same height, 4-5 feet.
However, the flowers of the new clump are of a distinctly more purplish hue, while the original clump is the normal light lavender-blue sported by this plant.
If you look from this angle, you can see the ‘Raspberry Wine’ Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) blooming in the Sidewalk Border. But I digress.
Take a closer look: new clump.
Old clump (straight species Wild Bergamot).
How to explain? Initially I thought that the new clump was started by a wandering rhizome from the old clump, but then how to account for the difference in color? Is the new clump a naturally occurring hybrid that evolved right here in the Front Garden?
Another digression: Wild Bergamot and Bee Balm were planted together in the Sidewalk Border, but in that part of the garden the Wild Bergamot has been almost entirely squeezed out at this point. In moist soil, it seems, the Bee Balm will spread more aggressively.
But back to our mystery: here’s another twist. In the Front Island Bed, which is between the Sidewalk and Driveway Borders, we have another Monarda, a cultivar of Wild Bergamot known as ‘Purple Rooster’.
‘Purple Rooster’ looks just like the Wild Bergamot in the new clump except that it is shorter, a little over 3 feet. Could I have transplanted the new clump from the Front Island Bed to the Driveway Border while under some kind of trance? But then why is the new clump more than a foot taller than ‘Purple Rooster’?
At this point you may be asking: who cares? Why get agitated about insignificant variations in essentially the same plant. If you are the sort of person who could ask such a question, clearly you are not a gardener, and we have nothing further to say to each other. Kindly do not darken my doorstep again.
But if you are not that sort of person, can you suggest any solutions to the Monarda Mystery?