By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of our prettiest, easiest-to-grow summer flowers is Monarda, also known as Bee Balm, another of what I call ‘Patriotic Plants’ because this very American perennial is native to our area, and welcomes butterflies and birds to your yard and helps them thrive. Its leaves smell good enough to eat for good reason, the plant’s a member of the mint family and it’s popular as a tea and in herbal medicine.

Monarda flowers have very full heads with petal tips that spray out in different directions, rather like fireworks, and bloom in bright red as well as shades of pink and purple.

Bee Balm is very vigorous – plant a little and give it room to spread in the sun and it will likely need to be divided in a couple of years. So, if you already have Bee Balm in your garden, that means you probably have some to spare, Why not dig a small patch to share? Put it in a pretty pot to bring as a gift to friends you visit for the Fourth of July.

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