Red Bee Balm
One of my favorite plants in our garden is Red Bee Balm. One day I was driving home from biking on the Mississippi River and noticed the most amazing red flower in front of a house. I was not able to look at it too much since I was driving my car, and did not want to end up in the flower bed!.
Their blooms are exotic looking. I just had to find out what this flower was and grow it in Palm Rae Potager.I found out it was a herb known as “Red Bee Balm” and just had to have some for my garden. I started out with a small clump I picked up at the local nursery.
They stretch to the sky and remind me of a red feathered boa…they are unique. They are part of the mint family so they will spread in the garden. The Native American Indians that lived near the Oswego River called this plant “Oswego Tea”, and it is one of the few plants with a Native American name. I did try it in tea one day and found it to be flavorful, but I had an allergic reaction to the tea. I have found that I have to be careful with herbal teas due to my allergies. It seems to be mostly plants in the Asteraceae plant family. I have not had problems with eating Lettuce ( Lactuca Sativa ) since it is an annual plant of the Asteracea family. Thank goodness because I love fresh salad greens from our Urban Potager!
Red Bee Balm contrasts nicely with a variety of flowers which means it looks good any place you put it in a garden. I have noticed over the years that I “love” the colors red, orange, purple, or blue in my flower, herb and vegetable gardens. A friend told me that my attraction to these colors in my yard is my body trying to heal itself. These colors are pigments that contain a “healing” group of plant polyphenols called anthocyanins.
Here, is an article written that provides more detailed information on the benefits of
anthocyanins in your diet.
Red Bee Balm in a summer vase lifts your spirits….
I like them combined here with herb Golden Marguerite (dyer’s chamomile) ‘Kelways.’
The humming birds are attracted to this herb. I also found when it is done blooming leave it in the garden. I have found ” beneficial insects” are still roaming around its raggedy blooms. Once it is no longer viable ( to beneficial insects) I usually cut it to the ground and sometimes it will bloom again.
This year I used red bee balm in my tomato companion bed. It is with borage, old-fashioned vining petunias, reseeded shiso britton, borage, gem marigolds, french marigolds, basil, calendula, cosmos , and zinnias. Yes, I stuffed a lot into this companion bed!
Red Bee Balm one of the most beautiful colors in a late June garden in zone 5
I love red, white and gold mixed together in the garden. Timing is so important when planting perennial beds.I don’t always get it right, but eventually after many trial and error things do work out over time.
I have always described them as “dancing bee balm”…they move through the garden. Just have to control where they move!
even when they are not the focal point…
they just add drama to a simple urban potager garden..
They are perfect companions with tomatoes. Some people claim they…
…enhance the flavor of your tomatoes. I have a nice clump near my tomato garden, so we will find out this year if this is a myth….