Day 226: bee balm

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year


The flowers of bee balm (Monarda didyma) always appear to have hurriedly just got out of bed, but the bees and the butterflies don’t seem to mind the slightly dishevelled appearance of this member of the mint family. Like many of its relatives, the leaves contain aromatic oils – in this case, with a citrusy tang reminiscent of the bergamot oranges used to perfume Earl Grey tea leaves, themselves rather good when used as a refreshing herbal tisane. Unlike mint, it can be a little fussy and prone to powdery mildew, so it’s best to ensure it doesn’t completely dry out, and to make sure that on humid late summer days you water at the base rather than spraying leaves and stems.

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.