One of the advantages of heavy, clay soil is the opportunity to grow Monkey Flower. We pretty reliably have it come back year after year without any special protection (although I buy a new plant every year just in case.) It started blooming last week. Here's a photo:
It has also worked out well in containers as it's a shorter plant.
Kathi and Michael Rock
I've thown seeds of the plant in my garden but never got a plant. I haven't tried to sow it indoors. I did get a plant of Mimulus ringens to grow from scattered seed. It doesn't seem to attract too much attention. It's a small plant that hasn't spread at all. I don't have the heart to dig it up. It's been there for at least 5 years.
USDA hardiness zone 4b
Heat zone 5
Sunset zone 43
I kind of went overboard with it this year, planting out a large area in my beds to some seed-grown plants. I've tried it before a few times from a number of different seed sources, and have been struck by how different plants grown from different seed sources can be. I've had some with short stature (about a foot) and others with taller (about 2.5ft) height, some with red flowers and others with more melon-colored flowers. There is even a yellow-flowered variant, though I haven't tried that one. Some are hardy, and some are not. The plant has a fairly large geographic distribution, which would help explain that variety. I've had it grow and bloom well, especially in the early part of the season, but it always looks like a mess by mid-season. This year, if it grows well, I may try cutting it back when it starts to look disheveled to see if that helps. Have you had that problem, and if so, have you figured out a remedy? If you haven't had that problem, can I please get some seed from your plants?!
PS: I remember a thread about this plant from a few years ago with some beautiful pictures of some plants that Kristin grew.
Funny - I always thought my clay soil is what kills off the monkey flower. Winter over - it doesn't even make it through the summer here! It's lasted about a month the three or four times I've tried it.
My feeling about it is that it wants the ideal conditions for cardinal flower - rich, damp, loose soil in full sun, but at least cardinal flower doesn't insist on the ideal - it will soldier on in part shade, or the occasional dry spell, or heavy compact soil. Monkey flower is such a fainting, dying diva.
I see you have it with the touch-me-not, which does fine for me. Maybe I should try it next to that, though I'm not getting my hopes too high.
Your plant is so pretty. Any tips, other than it likes clay!!!