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Beeeeeee Balm

Bee Balm in April
Bee Balm in April

I bought four pots of bee balm last spring when I was choosing herbs and vegetables to establish our first vegetable garden at our new home. My friend and garden mentor told me bee balm was good for the garden because it would attract bees to pollinate some of the veggies like squash. I also read it would attract hummingbirds (when I was a little girl I thought hummingbirds flew fairies around in the forest).

Bee Balm in Bloom
Bee Balm in Bloom

I didn’t give buying it a second thought and like a city slicker moving to the country, I scooped up bee balm onto my cart and most anything my mentor or the sales clerk said was a good idea (or anything I thought was pretty or would taste yummy). Sometimes it is fun to be “green”.

I planted the bee balm in the back of the beds since the photos I had seen of them were tall with vibrant colored flowers. They would provide a nice touch of color and hopefully distract from the way tomato plants tend to look scraggly in the dead of summer. Then, I waited. And waited. And waited all summer long for the bee balm flowers to bloom. They never did.

I checked my gardening books and did a little research on the computer to explain why it hadn’t bloomed.?? maybe I gave it too much water or not enough water or not enough sun. I was too embarrassed to ask my friend what I might have done wrong so I ignored it.

Still, how was a bee or a hummingbird supposed to enjoy the flowerless bee balm? Did I buy the right thing? Is there more than one bee balm plant? I thought about digging it up and starting over the following spring.

Good thing I got distracted by life and just left it alone because out of the blue this spring to my great surprise, the bee balm (yes, it actually is the real deal) grew three feet high and blossomed like something out of a fairytale. WOW!! Purple and fuchsia and one single red.

I am so thankful I didn’t whack it or worse, pull it out of the ground! And for an extra treat, this past weekend I was down at the garden tending to a little problem I’m working on and plan to share a little later, and SHAZAM…out of the trees appeared an emerald green hummingbird (no, there wasn’t a fairy on its back, but I’m not giving up yet). It swooped over to my bee balm and hovered while it drank a little nectar…. the first one that we have seen in the two years since we moved here.

YEE-HA!!!! Will the wonders never cease! I am so grateful for simple pleasures!!