Mimulus cardinalis

2 Jul

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Ok, I have to admit, I have a thing for the monkeyflowers. There is just something about their cheerful trumpet shaped flowers, with the petals forming suggestive shapes like monkey faces, that just makes me grin. This one, a California native, but perfectly hardy here in Seattle most winters, has the added draw that it attracts hummingbirds.

Apparently in its native haunts you can find it, much like the common yellow monkeyflowers here, in and along side sunny stream edges and moist to wet meadows. Luckily it adapts well to pots and garden borders that are kept evenly moist all summer. The flowers are more orange to me than truly “cardinal” red, but at least they are nice and bright, and the perfect color to attract the hummers in the garden.

In fact, as soon as the very first flowers opened, I saw hummers not only investigate, but came back for more. Only time will tell if my hummers like it as well as many say they do, but that is a good sign, if they are found and used so quickly.

For now I have three, two in pots and one in the ground. Blooming commenced identically for both, but it does seem a little easier to keep hydrated in the ground. On the other hand, it doesn’t get very tall, so being in a pot I can lift it up for better hummer availability, lol, plus it’s a lovely sprawly thing in a bowl with annual blue an white lobelia.

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All in all, I’d say this is a keeper!

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