This summer I upped my gardening game by delving into designing themed flowerbeds. First on my list was to create a beautiful space that would attract pollinators, especially Monarch butterflies, to my home garden. It’s quite amazing how vital bees, butterflies and other pollinators are to the viability of the human food supply. Without these little creatures, we would not enjoy the abundance of food we too often take for granted every day. With a little effort, I was able to turn my backyard into a sanctuary of plants that support the existence of native pollinator species.
At the top of my list of my favorite bee-friendly plants is Bee Balm. Bee Balm flowers are strikingly beautiful – their flowers resemble small ornate crowns akin to the fancy hats my grandmother wore to church when I was a young girl. Aside from their unique blooms, Bee Balm is an undeniable magnet for bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds. This year I planted two different varieties based on recommendations from my local garden center. The first, Raspberry Wine, grows 3-4 feet tall with purple-red flowers that sit on top of woody stems. With adequate watering, full to half sun, and regular deadheading, flowers bloom steadily throughout summer. I planted Raspberry Wine in the center of a 4×4 raised bed to serve as the bed’s focal point.
I also planted another variety of Bee Balm known as Petite Delight. As its name suggests, this is a shorter variety that only grows 1-2 feet tall. Petite Delight is still quite showy with pink flowers and deep green leaves, making it a great choice for borders. A few months ago I created a flower bed in my front yard where a large tree once stood. That’s where I choose to plant Petite Delight, just along the outer edges of the bed just in front of the rock border.
Now that the intense summer heat has subsided, there have been as many as 6-8 bees and butterflies flying about the flowers in the garden at one time. I love spending quiet mornings sitting by the pollinator bed, with coffee and camera in hand, quietly taking in the beauty of nature.
Peace and Zen,