Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bee balm

Not only do I love bees, I love bee balm, aka bergamot (ingredient* in Earl Grey tea, which I loathe -- Earl Grey tastes like dish soap to me) aka monarda. I grow several varieties of bee balms, which not surprisingly is loved by bees and other pollinators. The blooms are so pretty, and the leaves smell great.

Check out the dude hovering in the upper right corner! Don't know what type of pollinator it is, but I do know it's not a honeybee.

I'm off to visit my bees!

*My bad -- Jim kindly let me know that the ingredient in Earl Grey tea comes from the bergamot orange, a citrus fruit, not monarda (aka bergamot, but not the same as the plant that produces bergamot orange! Anyone got THAT growing in their no-doubt-tropical garden?)


  1. I love Bee Balm too, especially since it attracts hummingbirds. (And I LOVE Early Grey tea!)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Based on poking around online, I think there must be two bergamots--bee balm and a citrus fruit. It's the citrus that's in Earl Gray (my favorite kind of tea, BTW!).

    Is that possible??

  4. Aha, it is possibe!

    Per Wikipedia: The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa, which are in the mint family.

  5. Anonymous1:02 pm

    Ah ha! Interesting Jim. I was just about to comment that finally i've seen bergamot... but alas no.

    put me in the LOVE EARL GREY TEA camp too.

    anyway BEAUTIFUL pics Knat.

    how were the bees today? any warmer temps there yet?

  6. Earl Grey! Repugnant! ;) My parents were English and also thought Earl Grey tea repugnant.

    Okay, I got a lot of my bergamot plants from

    Panorama Red Shades - Bergamot
    Monarda didyma - says you can make tisane (herbal tea) from the leaves

    Blue stocking - Monarda didyma

    Marshall's Delight - Monarda didyma

    Croftaway Pink - Monarda didyma

    Lemon bergamot - Monarda citriodora "Attractive native of the American southwest with pink-purple flowers. Young foliage is strongly lemon-scented and excellent in tea. Leaves used by Hopi Indians to flavour wild game."

    So! I stand corrected. Earl Grey tea (repugnant) is made with the oil of the bergamot orange. But you can use bee balm/monardo/pseudo bergamot leaves to make a tisane (herbal tea), hence my confusion.

    BUT boy, do my monardas ever smell like Earl Grey tea! Thanks for pointing out the error, Jim.

    And you Americans, always spelling "Grey" wrong. Snork!

    And the bees? I went out this morning and found a booted-out, DYING QUEEN in front of the hive I checked last night, in which, LAST NIGHT, I saw a perfectly happy LIVE QUEEN. It's nuts out there. And the weather SUCKS.

  7. Anonymous4:56 pm

    gray gray GRAY!!! hahahha

    but i did spell Earl Grey right because it's someone's name ... i suppose. other than that, it's gray ... as in "suddenly, i'm getting a lot of GRAY hair". haha

    well ok we all just have our own little identities we want to maintain.

    and actually when i was in scotland... O just a few weeks ago .... sobbing ... i went into a little store in Uig and looked around and could not find tea. so i asked the woman there where it was. I came back with Earl Grey. She said, "you know that's Earl Grey, right?" ...hahhaha like they don't even call it TEA.


    and your bees are some vicious mofos. are you sure they aren't those evil heartless african bees??? hahah.

    sorry about the weather. :(

  8. What beautiful fucia coloured fleurs!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!