February 23, 2020

Scarlet Sparks

Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline' - Bee balm

Janine Pineo Photo | Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’ – Bee balm

If you want hummingbirds to love your garden, take to planting beebalm. If you want the hummers ecstatic, plant Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline.’ This native plant is hardy to Zone 3 and has better mildew resistance than other Monardas. But even better than that – as far as the hummingbirds, bees and butterflies are concerned – are the impressive red blossoms that top the 3- to 4-foot-tall plants about midsummer. Not only are the leaves fragrant, but the large flowers are deliciously so, exuding a delicate honey scent. Another nice thing about beebalm is how it slowly spreads, creating a nice stand of plants over time. Little is as nice as stopping near a stand of Monarda in bloom, for as the fragrance wafts about so do the bees and butterflies. And if you keep quite still, you might get to watch a hummer zip and sip, zip and sip.