Red Monarda
Red Monarda grows 2-4 feet tall, depending on the variety, and fits well planted near the back of the border. Monarda has a tendency to be invasive so it is essential to keep it contained.

On March 4 I urged my readers to be wary of planting invasive plants. Before purchasing and planting, I encouraged gardeners to be familiar with the growing characteristics of the plants they buy. If the word ‘invasive’ appears anywhere in its description, I advised to take caution. Invasive means having the tendency to spread. A good number of invasive plants have the propensity to crowd out and destroy less vigorous plants.

Through the years, I have knowingly acquired plants deemed invasive. One such plant evokes within me a feeling of nostalgia whenever I see it in bloom. Currently, that flowering plant is in full bloom throughout our yard. Its scientific name is Monarda didyma; however, most gardeners know it as monarda, beebalm or bergamot. One particular variety of monarda now blooming is an offspring from Mother’s monarda that she once had blooming in her flower borders. Years ago, Rita and I took divisions from Mother’s monarda, and now its beauty continues in our backyard.

Mother was an accomplished gardener, growing many beautiful beds of flowers. When I was a child, she had a knack for recruiting me to work those flowerbeds — weeding, watering and probably whining. It was there in her garden that monarda made its impression on me. To this day, I do not know the exact variety of monarda that Mother grew, but, in July, her flowers standing at least 3 feet tall were ablaze with a deep scarlet-red color. Today, in our flower borders, their striking…