Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bee Balm in Bloom

Our simplyjen has some beautiful herb gardens here on the farm. She has been propagating, transplanting and sharing herbs for the past several years. Recently, she has begun her adventure as a Master Gardener Intern at our local county extension service..with plans to take classes with the program in the fall. Here we have a glimpse at a plant from her first tea garden she planted near our greenhouse.
This is bee balm, also known as wild bergamont. Deep green leaves are arranged laterally along long tender stems. The blooms are set in round seed heads with dozens of delicate petals all around (reminds me of pins in a pincushion). Their fragrance is warm and soothing attracting all types of bees - including bumble bees, and hummingbirds.
Every part of the bee balm plant is useful and edible. The blooms are used to garnish salads of fresh greens. Leaves may be eaten in salads, used to flavor cooking or in herbal teas. Medicinally, bee balm is said to aid in digestion, relieve cold symptoms and insomnia, and to soothe menstrual discomforts.
Bee balm grows well in nearly any soil and requires some afternoon shade, though ours has grown well here in the south with direct sun. The plant overwinters beautifully when trimmed and mulched over with leaves (we have had our plant for three years). Like the mint family, bee balm can be somewhat invasive, and most gardeners prefer to keep it as a potted plant. With the spaciousness of our gardens, we have ours in the soil..propagating it often and sharing it with others (or letting the chicks have the excess!).
In our home, bee balm is used in potpourris, herbal teas, and various flower arrangements, however, we most enjoy the wildlife it attracts to our gardens. From the first planting, many others have been propagated and placed in various garden plots to add beauty and attract beneficial insects.

Hope you enjoyed a little garden herbal wisdom from our Master Gardener Intern..until tomorrow, have a "bee-utiful" day.

simplychele and simplyjen

3 comments:

Simply Scaife Family said...

I looooooooooooove it!
Simply Jen =D

Anonymous said...

Wow! That sounds like a pretty cool plant! I might like to try planting some... :P
~Butterfly~

Simply Scaife Family said...

Email us anytime..we generally have extra plantings propagated in the greenhouse...it is super easy to grow and maintain! Give me a shout and we'll get you some....chele