Does anybody grow these in the PNW?

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

I moved a few years ago from the mid-west where these perennials are quite common. I have been looking for the around here to see if someone would have some to split and share but can't find anybody. do they not do well here?

bee balm (monarda)
Obedient plant

Poulsbo, WA

Monarda (Bee Balm) grows well here in the Puget Sound/Hood Canal area (we are in Poulsbo).

I don't know what Obedient plant is, so maybe that's an indication that it is less common here....? Or, perhaps it has another common name in this region. Do you know the true name?

This message was edited Feb 20, 2015 8:59 PM

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I have never tried any bee balm. The books say it likes well drained moist soil, and don't like winter wet. If unhappy they apparently get mildew. I have clay, dry in summer, and soggy for 6 months of the year, so the odds seemed stacked against me.
Obedient plant 'Miss Manners'- I tried in sand with a bit of dry shade, it never flowered, then died over the winter. I tried in sun, clay, dry in summer- it never looked good, only bloomed right before frost, but was showing invasive tendencies, so I dug it out.
If you decide to try, let us know how it works out.

I have the book Perennials by Carter, Becker and Lilly. It is written by some PNW garden gurus, and has suggestions for which bee balms might be best here. It is getting just a bit dated (published 2007), so you might get it from the library. It's a very nice PNW reference.

Substitutes for obedient plant (pink/spiky/about 2 ft tall) might be Stachys 'Hummelo', and Sidalcea 'Party Girl' both have done well for me here. Snapdragons sometimes make it through the mild winters and are cheap to replace..

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi fernfarmer!
Obedient Plant is Physostegia. It is native to eastern U.S., so likes hot summers with lots of rainstorms.

Poulsbo, WA

OK, well hot summers pretty well rules us out. But, now I'm intrigued, so I will look it up!

Poulsbo, WA

OK, looked it up. In our climate, an astilbe (in moist conditions) or a dwarf goatsbeard (Aruncus) (more flexible about water, but likes a bit more shade) might be substitutes too. Camasia, and Chelone might be alternatives too. This is fun! I'm running out of space in my garden, so it's nice to give someone else shopping ideas....

Yadavgard, I assume you have been to Dig Nursery on Vashon. If not, they are a great resource: interesting inventory and a knowledgeable staff. If you are not already a member of the Northwest Perennial Alliance, you might want to consider joining. They have free (for members) garden tours several time each year on Vashon and in the surrounding area.

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

I have Chelone that are a good 3 feet tall. They are very, very trouble free. I water them twice during the summer drought. They look fresh all the time and are never ratty. They bloom late and don't need deadheading. They spread slowly and are not invasive. I also got a few of a shorter variety from my sister last year and I think they will do just as well.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

Pistil - Obedient plant in good conditions can be slightly invasive. I never minded it since I would just dig out the extra and either compost it or give it away. But the flowers were wonderful. It does need full sun I believe. If I can find a plant, I think I am going to give it a try.

I do like the look of Stachys 'Hummelo'. And it seems like it is deer resistant too. I am going to give that a try. It's 50% off on Bluestone perennials right now!

Fernfamer - Glad to know that Monarda Bee Balm does well here. It is such an easy grower. Now I have to find somebody around me who has it and is willing to share some.
I am not a member of the Northwest Perennial Alliance. I just looked them up, sounds like a fun group to join.


Poulsbo, WA

Yadavgard, I know that there will be some Jacob Cline (red) Monarda at the Kitsap County Master Gardener Foundation plant sale on Saturday, May 7. The sale is at the Kitsap Fairgrounds (between Silverdale and East Bremerton). Their prices are generally about half (or less) of what you'd pay at a nursery; so not free, but close, and the money goes to a good cause.

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

I grow a pinkish lavender monarda that gets crazy double-decker flowers which make me smile. I don't know the cultivar, as the it was shared by a friend. It is prone to mildew late in the season. Spreads well, and I will be dividing it soon. If you ever get over to the Eastside, I could share some.

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

I'm a member of NPA, and the member garden tours are my favorite thing about the membership. My garden will be open in May and August this year. I'm both thrilled to share and terrified at the prospect it...lots I want to get done beforehand.

I'm hoping to get ideas for a name for my property. I may have a naming contest with a division of a rare plant for a prize.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

in2art -I think it would be really fun to see your garden. Please let us know more about this garden tour program. If I am off work that day I would like to tour some gardens made by local enthusiasts like you.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

in2art - Would love the opportunity to see your garden. I have been working on establishing a garden and would great to learn and see as to what works in the PNW climate !!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I'm hoping to get ideas for a name for my property.

Maybe some variation on "Bellevue," which is in itself a pretty name, "good view".

Maybe translate "good view" or "glorious vista" or "colorful sight" into other languages until you find one that sounds good.

My vote usually goes to Italian for words that sound good, like "mangiatutto" for eat-the-pods-too snap peas, or "Pisello Rampicante Gigante Svizzero", which i think only means "big, tall Swiss peas".

All by itself, "Rampicante Gigante" sounds like something naughty that Jamie Lee Curtis' boyfriend might have said in "A Fish Named Wanda".

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

I like the thoughts, Rick. I had not considered foreign languages...that makes anything sound cooler ;-)

examples (from my junior high/high school French lessons):

doubla-vay-say (phonetic version of WC) = restroom/where you 'go'
Salle de Bain (actual spelling of 'BATH' room) = where you bathe

even those sound better...not that I really want to name my garden after those...

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

I wonder what 'sloping property with soil clay and giant dog bombs in the back yard' would translate to?...


Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

In Italian (I don't speak it, I just googled it):
garden- giardino
dog- cane or pedinare or agguatare
a brand of land mine made in Italy- Valmara
hill- collina or poggio
Now we just need someone who took Italian in High School to combine these excellent and exotic words...

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

pendenza proprietÓ con terreno argilloso e bombe cane gigante nel cortile

Don't speak Italian :) google did the trick !

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

It sounds delicious.

My favorite part would be waiting for an Italian speaker to come along and read the sign ... appreciative smile followed by falling-down-laughing.

South Beach, OR(Zone 9a)

I had Lemon Balm, aka Lemon Bee Balm growing at my place in Troutdale. It was not obedient, I can tell you that much! It grew like crazy and I had to drastically cut it back every season, I almost couldn't keep up with it. It is very pretty though, and the leaves smell wonderful when crushed.

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

Well, after running many phrases through Google translate (thank you RickCorey for the idea), I came up with my garden name...

Bellezza con verruche

It's Italian for 'beauty with warts'. It is the perfect name for my garden...there are lots of awesome plants (some rare and unusual), some really cool garden art, and definitely some warts. There are projects in progress, and others that need to be done. On any given day, I can guarantee that you could find some weeds. My husband agrees that the name is perfect.

The best part is that it makes it okay to not be perfect. And it leaves the door open...if my garden ever does become perfect, I can grow some worts and then point them out!...either way, I'm covered.

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

On another note, a few of you expressed interest in attending the tour...please DM me for address if you're serious about it. It will be on 5/30-5/31 from 10-4.

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

And lastly, I found the tag for my's 'Beauty of Cobham'. Unfortunately, I hired someone to help me in the yard. I asked him to remove all of the Shasta Daisies and he removed the Monarch too. On the up side, he didn't get the parts that were right next to other plants, so I dug them and transplanted them back to where I wanted them

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Love your name :~)

I've had great luck with Monarda also.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Great name!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

The name is great. It made me smile.
Sorry I can't come see your garden-I will have out of town relatives visiting that weekend or I would try to go.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

in2art are you part of the Bellvue garden walk?

I'd like to come check out your garden. Will DM you. Was just wondering if you are part of a larger walk, so I can see some more gardens when I am in the area :)

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

Yadavgard, I am part of a larger NPA open garden tour. I have never heard of the Bellevue open garden walk...I'll have to check into that.

I sent you a DM with the details for the tour. I probably had 75-100 people through today... Hope to see you here tomorrow

Seattle, WA

I think there must be many versions of "Bee balm". One of them is the one with yummy smelling leaves---don't know if you can cook with them. It self-seeds readily in our area, which can be a bit of a nuisance if you already have too many weeds.

My garden is almost exclusively a pot garden. Last year I rescued a small Monarda from HD, potted it up, and finally,( August?) got some pretty purple blooms. When those died off, it set to work on another batch, but at the same time, some mildew started to appear. I have had TONS of mildew this year, and actually bought a fungicide--ick. Anyone else have this problem, which I thought the hot weather might preclude?

I am surrounded by tall cedars, so get not too much sun. The heat, however, has pushed some of my rhodies into their first bloom. I get marginal results with roses and dahlias, so I'm pleased. Thank goodness I love ferns and hostas, although the heat was a bit much for them this year. I am very far from the specified 6 hours of sun required for almost everything. Did you know THIS? That 6 hour figure was produced in Ames, Iowa. Fortunately, our sun is quite a bit stronger here, and, of course, the days are longer, so we can afford a bit of extra shade.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I have never grown bee balm because of the reported mildew issue. I did have hollyhocks, they got rust and I have finally done away with them and planted something else there. I did use fungicide, the systemic type works best by far, but I finally decided to just not grow stuff that needs chemicals. The stuff I read about bee balm said it likes moisture, and in pots I just never can water daily in hot weather. Or in the ground! The books say drought stress makes bee balm more susceptible to fungus.

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