Surprised and delighted . . . oh, yeah.
I came across this lovely stand of tall stalks crowned with red feathery headdresses in one of my local parks. I had never seen these before in all my life so I was anxious to discover what they were.
My searching revealed that these lovelies are "Monarda", more commonly known as "Bee Balm". Other common names are Horsemint, Oswego Tea and Bergamot.
I had heard of bee balm but did not know what it looked like and for whatever reason never searched it out.
These flowers will bloom and stay for 3-5 weeks and a 2nd blooming can be encouraged if the spent blooms are deadheaded. They enjoy sun to part sun and can handle a moderate degree of drought. They are very easy to grow and are highly favoured by bees and hummingbirds alike.
There are a number of bee balm species that have long been used for medicinal purposes. Poultices for skin infections and minor wounds, tea for throat and mouth infections and infusions for headache and fever. Native Americans were also known to have used the plant as a seasoning for wild game (birds, in particular). Its flavour is said to taste like a mix of spearmint, peppermint and oregano.
I really do love delving into plant lore and am always amazed at God's creative genius. Makes me wonder if He created the flower for its beauty then added the healing properties or designed the medicinal qualities and just made them look so beautiful. Either way, I stand in awe.
Linking with LeAnne for . . .