Sometimes you just pick the wrong place to plant a plant. That happened to me with a bright red Bee Balm (Monarda variety unknown). As I wrote about before (Time For the Yarrow To Go), this particular Bee Balm had been planted underneath a newly planted River Birch which is now almost 20 years old. As you might expect, in the intervening years it has plunged everything underneath into mostly shade, rather than the dappled light shade when it was newly planted.
For many years I just ignored the Bee Balm since it didn’t really bother me; it was just another scraggly plant that bloomed well enough. It did tend to get powdery mildew which was unsightly and probably unhealthy for it. (But, looking at the pictures, it really should have bothered me long before it did.)
A couple of years ago, around the same time that the Bee Balm was actually starting to bother me, I also felt it was time for the very messy yarrow to go. It was taking up one the best full sun spots in the yard and was not performing well in it.
So out came the yarrow and in went the Bee Balm. Now, two years later the Bee Balm is blooming spectacularly!
It looks so much better in this spot in the yard, and even the small patch of yarrow that snuck back looks good. The butterflies and bees are quite happy, too.
It’s always tough to go leave the garden and go on vacation. It seems like something (or everything) is ready to just burst out in color or ripen just in time to go away. Or the weather can you throw you a curve ball and get crazy hot/cold or dry/wet. Very unpredictable. I assumed this year was no different, so right before we left I had my daughter Emily take some pictures to do a little before and after.
Some of the flowers were already in full bloom and likely will be past peak before we get back…
Some were ready to bloom and I can only hope I don’t miss the show…
The vegetables were flourishing. The cooler weather vegetables were starting to show signs of stress and looking ready to bolt, but still fine to harvest for a little while longer. Peppers, squash and beans were almost ready, so my friend who is helping with dog sitting and plant watering should get some treats. I’d hate for them to go to waste and there’ll be plenty more. Tomatoes are growing like gang-busters, but not expecting any ripe ones quite yet.
Vacations are always a little tricky to be sure everything stays healthy in the garden. Right before we left for almost 2 weeks, I gave everything a watering with Miracle-Gro fertilizer and dead-headed everything that would benefit from it. I set the sprinkler to try and optimize waterings, and had a friend also check on things and keep the pots watered. I also tried to be sure the plants that needed staking were supported so things wouldn’t be too out of hand when I got back.
I posted before about the problems I was having with my yarrow and I’ve finally decided it’s time to go. It’s been a garden invader for years and especially this year, just downright ugly.
So I pulled it out.
This left an ugly gaping hole, but by next spring it’ll have something new in it’s place. I’m thinking I’ll move the red Bee Balm (variety unknown) that is currently almost in full shade under a River Birch.
That was one of those mistakes made by a landscaper before I knew to ask questions and look into plant choices myself. Sure, it was only lightly shaded back when the tree was planted almost 15 years ago. But now, it’s dappled full shade and much too shady to grow a sun loving plant like Bee Balm. I get a few meager flowers each year, but mostly it’s leggy, sparse and often gets a powdery mildew. Time for a new home. There’s plenty of great shade loving plants that can take it’s place.
I have had yarrow in my gardens for years, but I think that as much as I’ve tried to embrace it, I have finally decided I just don’t like it. I love it in the wild, out in the prairies and fields, but in the garden it tends to be messy, overgrown, floppy, often rather dead looking and spreads to places I don’t want it. I currently have two gardens with white yarrow in them. I have moved it around a few times trying to find a nice place for it (and also seem to always leave a little bit behind). I also have a single Oertel’s Rose Yarrow plant remaining that I got from the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale about 5 years ago. I actually think that one is a much better specimen and may make the cut as I pull out the yarrow this fall. This is what mine look like this year:
I also have a single tidy Oertel’s Rose Yarrow plant mixed in oddly with the white. It’s hard to see in this light, but it is a beautiful rose, purple color on medium height stems.
What has been your experience with yarrow in the garden?