29june10monarda A Patriotic Perennial


by KYW’s Phran Novelli

Fireworks in the night sky are beautiful, but if you plant flowers that remind you of fireworks, you can enjoy them all day too – and well beyond the Fourth of July.  Our native Monarda – also known as ‘Bee Balm,’ comes in colors ranging from a patriotic scarlet red to pretty pinks and purples – and the flower heads look a lot like fireworks to me. 

Bee balm attracts all kinds of pollinators to your garden – including hummingbirds who love it, and it makes a great home for baby caterpillars too.  Related to many herbs, it’s also called ‘Oswego Tea’ for the drink made from its wonderfully-scented leaves. 

A perennial, it grows in sun to part-shade with varieties from dwarf size to over 4 feet high.  And its showy flowers won’t only add some daytime fireworks to your Fourth of July – since it’s a native plant that’s threatened, planting Monarda in your garden is also a very American thing to do.

(Photo:  by Phran Novelli ) 

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