Friday, July 18, 2008

Busy Bee Balm

Yesterday was a very busy garden day. The pea vines were pulled and the last of the peas harvested. Blueberries, and the peas not slated for dinner went into the freezer. The last of the garlic is in the basement for curing. It's starting to dry down a bit. I'm really glad because the strong garlic smell down there was starting to make me queasy.

I finished the dishes from the vegetable freezing and gazed out the window. There dancing over, on, and around the bee balm were a half a dozen tiger swallowtails. What a delight they are to watch! They lured me out into the heat with my camera in hand. I took quite a few pictures and did get one of a slightly ragged tiger. I totally understand why they used to go out with a net and a killing jar, but my butterflies are free!

Another bee balm lover is this humming bird moth. These little guys by themselves are enough to make a person plant bee balm. If you have never seen one you are missing something way cool! There were several of them whizzing around along with a lot of bumblebees. In spite of the name, bee balm, the flowers are too deep for honey bees to collect nectar.

The red strain of bee balm is really magnificent. The humming birds keep everyone else away. They are territorial and the red is theirs. Imagine what it would be like to have a hummingbird after you if you were a butterfly. It would be like a dog fight between a jet and a glider. If humming birds and butterflies are your thing bee balm (Monarda) is a must have!

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