10 May 2012

Horsemint Blooms

In the late fall, I threw out several types of seeds from Native American Seed and crossed my fingers. Of those, I've been watching these horsemint (Monarda citriodora) plants in great anticipation, having seen them start to bloom about town (there's a particularly amazing meadow of them at the Wildflower Center) and wondering when ours would burst forth.

Well, they finally bloomed this week.

The plants are growing here and there about the yard, and are just fantastic. I love their pagoda-like floral structure, and the minty smell of their leaves. These will go to seed and spread themselves about as they will, and we will edit. I love this plant. And happened to see two white-lined sphinx moths zooming around the garden this evening stopping in for the occasional sip at one of these little purple flowers.

When I started learning about prairie native plants, monarda was one of the first plants I both learned about and got a crush on. In that case it was beebalm, Monarda fistulosa. I'm really happy to have some monarda in the garden, finally, and will hope to add beebalm to the mix as well.

So far, the horsemints are the only plants that have done well from my fall seeding. The side-oats grama sprouted right away and then quickly wilted. Several of the butterfly weeds (Asclepias tuberosa) sprouted, but they were munched early on by snails, I suspect. There are two tiny seedlings that remain, and I'm hoping they will root and make it through the summer. That is an excellent native milkweed that is very difficult to find in the nursery trade.

I also planted frostweed and haven't seen hide-nor-hair of that one. Perhaps it'll make itself known in the fall.

Growing from seed is not as easy as I'd hoped, but I think if I keep at it, the things that take will be happy with their place, and hopefully spread around a bit.


Brendon said...

I seeded about half of my backyard with various native prairie plants two years ago. The cupgrass and some of the other tall grasses did well straight away, but the flowers have been taking their time. This is the first really good year for the flowers, particularly the horsemint.

adaptive reuse said...

This is so interesting. I had the boys out at St. Edward's Park on Spicewood Springs road and this is the plant that one of them decided to bring home a snippet of in order to identify it. If you're interested, there is a ton of it growing wild out there right now. If you haven't yet made it out there, the park itself is a lovely wild space with water. It seems to be mostly void of people and dog friendly.