This Bee Balm photo evoked a lot of discussion on Facebook because the readers thought the title -Flower or Weed? - revealed my question about the plant, not my warning to our helper against yanking the mint as a weed.
A lot of my Facebook friends grow or have grown Bee Balm, so one warned, "It can be evasive." I wanted to do a script on that typo, but I did not want to offend a stranger. Friends are easier to kid and so much fun.
GJ - Are you a Bee Balm?
BB - Monarda.
GJ - But you look just like the Bee Balm I have seen in catalogs.
BB - Horse mint.
GJ - Do not clown around with me. I know you are Bee Balm.
BB - Oswego Tea, prized for medicine by Indians.
GJ - We are getting close. So you really are Bee Balm.
BB - Bergamot.
GJ - You are being so evasive. I will just yank you out.
BB - No you won't. Hummers love me. Bees love me. The very best insects love me.
Bee Balm cultivation - The flowers will bloom again when cut. The mature plants can be divided to multiply them instead of buying them at inflated prices on the Net. It does tend to mildew a bit but I would not run around with my hair on fire for that.
The wild garden began as the area closest to the utility alley behind our house, a no-man's land of hanging limbs, weedy vines, and stuff the kids and adults dropped over the fence. Like Niagara Falls, the backside of buildings is neglected because the owners and renters do not look at it. We do.
In that area I am growing a green fence of Sunflowers,Blackberries,Butterfly Bush, and Chaste Tree. For ground cover I have Buckwheat, Pigweed, and Queen Ann's Lace.
When the dead tree fell over and we lined up its pieces parallel to the back fence, but much closer in, I began planning a much larger, easy care, beneficial insect wild garden. Cardboard has to go under the pieces or we will have infinite stretches of weeds to trim.
- The flooring will be cardboard, with compost and autumn leaves holding it in place. The recycle barrel for cardboard is now storage for the flooring. Cardboard covers more area at once and should be harder for weeds to penetrate.
- I am thinking about perennial plants that are more upright and offer something to birds and beneficial insects.
- Hardy bulbs might be fun for some early color contrast. I am inclined to use daffodils and grape hyacinth, which seem to be unattractive to the tree rats.
- The area will need solar lighting for the times I walk back there at night or want to see where Sassy is.
- Some re-seeders will be great for this area - dill, feverfew, etc. They are great for beneficial insects and pollinators.
- I want to have a large section for Monarch butterflies - they need Butterfly Weed or Milkweed or both - for their caterpillars.
|Mr. Lincoln in full bloom.|