Bee Balm from Mom
For the past two years or so, I've been wanting to add a few bee balm plants to my garden. I like their spiky, wild-looking blooms, and they're a favorite treat for hummingbirds and bees. It's been one of my goals to add more pollinator-attracting flowers to the garden, and bee balm is an ideal choice.
But I didn't want just any bee balm for my garden; I wanted a few clippings of my mom's bee balm. She has grown it in her garden for years, and that was where I discovered this plant for the first time.
My mom lives about five hours away by car and it's been a few years now since I've seen her summer garden in full bloom. (It seems we most often make the trip up north during the colder months, e.g, for holidays and birthdays.) In early April, though, I had the chance to visit her. One afternoon I was standing at the window that looks upon her backyard garden, which was still brown and barren from its winter rest.
I said to her, "Mom, I'd really like to have a few of your extra bee balm plants some day. I guess they haven't come up yet, though, huh."
"Oh, they've probably starting coming up by now. Why don't we go out and see?"
So with shovel in one hand and an old pot in the other, she slipped on her shoes and coat and led the way out back. She went right to a familiar place in her garden and started tapping at the still-cold ground with her shovel.
"You see? That's bee balm," she said, pointing to a few small tufts of green that were unrecognizable to me. She then began scooping several pieces into the pot that would sit by my side during that five-hour ride back to Washington.
And so there is my bee balm -- my mom's bee balm. It's in my garden plot and ready to grow into a colorful beacon for pollinators. It'll be a favorite flower for them, for sure, but perhaps even more cherished by me.