PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A patriotic perennial with plenty of flower power, that’s our native bee balm, or Monarda. For years, I hesitated to plant it because the species shoots up its fireworks red flowers on stems 3 to 6 feet tall.
But last year I found and planted a smaller sort called ‘Grand Parade,’ which grows about 18 inches high and true to its name is flowering to beat the band. The leaves are a beautiful deep green and the flowers are a purpley pink, you might say magenta.
A member of the mint family, Monarda’s aromatic scent – sort of spicy – invites you to have a sniff and welcomes butterflies and bees too. But bunnies and deer don’t like the smell nor the fact that its foliage is fuzzy, so they tend to leave it alone.
So, if you’ve never planted our native bee balm before because it was too darn high, consider this compact cultivar, with a name that’s easy to remember around the Fourth of July: ‘Grand Parade.’
Reported By Phran Novelli, KYW Newsradio