Bee Balm the Fuzzy Red Mint

A limerick:

Bee Balm, the fuzzy red mint       BeeBalm01

Wafting her wonderful scent       BeeBalm02

She’s a mint we can tell       BeeBalm03

By her glorious smell       ???????????????????????????????

Though her stem gives an obvious hint.       ???????????????????????????????

Did you know that you can easily confirm that Bee Balm is a member of the mint family by checking her stem?  It is square.  She’s a mint.

Bee Balm, also known as Bergamot, scientifically named Monarda Didyma, of the family Lamiaceae (the mints).     BeeBalm05a

She’s a dandy!???????????????????????????????


39 thoughts on “Bee Balm the Fuzzy Red Mint

    1. Yes, they are a glorious shade of red. Sometimes Bee Balm tends to go purple, but this strain has held its color for years. And they smell quite minty. Mint with a twist of lemon, if you will. 🙂

    1. You are welcome. Oh no! Is this another species which doesn’t prefer your hot weather? It is quite popular here and I am detecting elsewhere by the comments. Including Canada. Alas, we must grow what we can grow in our little micro climates. Have another fine day, Amy.

    1. Yes indeed. The red is most welcome in the garden at this time of year as the yellows and purples become dominant. 🙂

  1. purdy garden, i spy sunflowers and yarrow tucked in there too, with echinecea 🙂 though the bee balm is just three glorious shades of red!

    1. Thanks Creekrose. You spy them, indeed – all growing together in an unruly fashion. Just the way I like it. Yes, the bee balm is packing some punch with its color. 🙂

    1. Thanks Bethula. Such a fine compliment from someone who maintains such a lovely place herself. I think I’m lucky on the harmony of color thing, as I tend to grow the garden “willy nilly” – as they say. But it seems to be working this year. Have a good day. I look forward to your next post. 🙂

    1. It sure is. We haven’t seen many hummingbirds yet this year, but I remain hopeful. The red cannas are coming on strong and the blend of cannas and bee balm usually represents a treat the hummingbirds seem to enjoy quite a lot. 🙂

  2. J’aime le rouge vif des fleurs et les contrastes avec le jaune puissant des tournesols et des rudbeckia. C’est un véritable jardin d’artiste où le regard s’évade avec tendresse. Un vrai moment de bonheur, pur et simple….

    1. Merci Christiane. Vous avez toujours une belle vue artistique de mon jardin. Les couleurs sont agréables à moi cette année. Je plante. Ils fleurissent. J’espère que c’est agréable. Le rouge ‘bee balm’ est toujours un ami et offrir un contraste bienvenu avec le jaune. 🙂

  3. I love bee balm but I never knew it was a mint!
    That makes me wonder…do you know if the compass plant is a mint?
    As I recall its stalk is also four sided.
    In fact, it gets its name because the four sides, supposedly, point true N-S-E-W!
    I don’t know if that’s really true!
    I used to have both plants bordering my herb garden.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!

    1. Yep, bee balm is a mint. Nice and fragrant like a mint and propagates itself primarily by spreading its roots like a mint, though I know we have had it propagate by seed as well. I am not familiar with the compass plant. I just looked it up and the references I found were calling it an aster. Don’t know whether that is the same plant of which you speak. I’m interested to hear of a plant which orients itself in cardinal directions. It makes sense. They can sure tell where the sun is. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had some detection of the magnetic field as well. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. Have an excellent day. 🙂

  4. It seems to be hardy as a cut flower too, I like the bee balm. Your garden is stunning Jim, thanks for the fun limerick. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jet. My first ever published limerick. Good thing I’m self published. 🙂 I haven’t tried bee balm as a cut flower much, as I always treasure the red out in the garden. Sometimes the stem breaks so it becomes part of an arrangement. Bee Balm is one of my absolute favorites. Cheers. 🙂

    1. Now that is interesting. I have heard that bee balm could work in a little shade and have tried it several shady situations, but never with success. It grows in full sun here and seems to like that plenty. I’m comforted to hear that someone can grow it with less sun. Thanks.

        1. You must know something I don’t. Honestly, I can grow things in the sun, but I have never been good with shade. A friend asked what she should do about gardening in her yard which is dominated by a huge maple tree. I recommended removal of the tree. She was appalled. 🙂

  5. Beautiful photos as usual, Jim. And the combination of the red flowers and the yellow sunflowers (and is that rudbeckia?) is really lovely.
    I love bee balm. She blooms here just in time for Canada Day along with our white Annabelle hydrangeas. Our flags’ colours are red and white, and we always have the flag up at this time, so red and white take prominence in our front garden!

    1. Hence you associate the red bee balm with your patriotic pride of Canada. Thats awesome. And your strain is good and red, I gather? So often it tends towards purple. Our strain seems to be quite strong in the red department and I hope to keep it that way. Thanks Cynthia.

    1. Hi Julie. No, I did not know that. But now that I have you as a blog buddy, I bet I will come to know many things I did not know previously. That is good, as I’m really strong in the ‘not knowing’ department. Thanks for your nice comments about my garden. It is good to hear from someone who maintains such an amazing place as do you. Cheers. 🙂

  6. I love the Bee Balm – it’s just beautiful! I am still trying to grow the calla lillies that Terry gave me the bulbs for two years ago. They grow well but do not bloom very well – any suggestions?

    1. I couldn’t really say, Cat. I haven’t had much such success with them either. Alas, some things bloom for us and some don’t. Being the kind of guy I am, I prefer those which do. As a general rule, plenty of sunlight is good. I’ve had plants which grow beautiful foliage in a shady area, but when given a little more direct light bloom as well. Cheers. 🙂

  7. Our bee balm just bloomed for the first time this week! except it’s more of a purple color. Never grew it before but planted some last year for our bees 🙂

    1. It bloomed! Great! I think you will find it a hardy, reliable friend. It does tend to the purple, which is mighty pretty in and of itself. We’re lucky with the strain of red we have. I have been careful not to introduce any new kinds of bee balm here, as I fear it will tamper with the crisp red. The bees will like it, I’m sure! 🙂

  8. I am so jealous fo your bee but I have tried several times to grow it here with no success. Too much mildew. Too much shade. And it is one of my favorite flowers. Oh well. I can admire it from afar thanks to you! =)

    1. Thanks. Glad I can share. Bee Balm is wonderful and seems to be widespread in its domain, but can be a little tricky to grow. I have failed to get it established at my mom’s house and several friends’ houses, but it went positively crazy at another place I planted it. Our friend from New Hampshire (see above) grows it in the shade with a little morning light, but I can only seem to grow it in full sun. And the mildew – yes that can be a problem. Although I grow a wild, dense, ‘may the best plant win’ kind of flower garden, I am careful to make sure Bee Balm has plenty of air, lest she become mildewy. She’s worth the effort. As I say in the post, “She’s a dandy!” Thanks for the comment. Have a great day, Debra! 🙂

  9. I love Bee Balm. So do the pollinators and hummingbirds in my area. Mine hasn’t bloomed yet this year, though – you’re way ahead of me! I harvest mine as soon as it begins to bloom and use the leaves fresh in salads, and the leaves and flowers dried to make a wonderful tea. It brings summer back for a few minutes on a cold winter day. It doesn’t grow wild here, but I’ve seen it in a remnant of a prehistoric forest just 70 miles to the south, on Rainy River, which forms part of the boundary between Canada and the USA.

    1. How very interesting. Thanks. I haven’t much harvested the Bee Balm, I confess, as I treasure it as a visual spice to the garden. It is always our truest, most vibrant red. We have great spearmint and peppermint which we harvest for various purposes. Perhaps I should try some Bee Balm. I don’t think it grows wild here either, as I only ever see it as a purposeful addition to gardens. 🙂

        1. Oh thanks. I did not know that. I will trying nipping some off early next year. What do you think is the best method to propagate bee balm? It is the one flower that visitors to our garden often request. I’m always wishing I had more. We’re trying several things right now to increase how much we have. Also, you might like my post of May 6, 2014 – Stone Bunny and the Mint. Or you might think it is ridiculous. 🙂

          1. I divide mine in the fall or spring. I think a cutting would take well in the summer, though. Just cut at a node, put it in water and let it grow some roots, then plant it.

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